Kuumba Celebrates Black Futures

February 20 – April 11, 2021
Harbourfront Centre, Toronto

Toronto’s longest running Black History Month festival, Kuumba, presented by the TD Ready Commitment, returns for its 26th edition to celebrate the Black community, forward-focused and now part of Black Futures Month. The work of three contemporary artists from the Afro-diaspora – Apanaki Temitayo M, Christine Nnawuchi and Yasin Osman – enlivens the campus with vibrancy, sensuality and meaning, in partnership with Nia Centre for the Arts.

The outdoor installations are collectively part of Where She Went, We Thrived. Curator Alica Hall’s critical examination of Black femininity pays tribute to Black womanhood’s magic and tenacity. “They have shaped the world we know today,” writes Hall, “and this exhibition pays tribute to the tools, strategies and traditions our ancestors wielded for their survival – enabling future generations to succeed.”


Apanaki Temitayo M. Oju Olorun I: Eye of God I, 2019. Textiles & alcohol ink on wood canvas. Image by Sean Patenaude.

Apanaki Temitayo M’s Femme de Fleur celebrates melanated beauty, strength and grace in women. Inspired by the Yoruba goddess Oshun, who is the embodiment of love, healing, fertility and freshwater, Temitayo M captures the complexity and nuance of the female form by using mixed media to accentuate and punctuate the sensuality, vulnerability, the divine, and a multitude of emotions and experiences. Her large-scale portraits express these unapologetically.


Christine Nnawuchi. Sacred Amulet, 2020. Porcelain, stainless steel & leather. Image courtesy of artist.

Christine Nnawuchi’s Everything she left behind occupies the liminal space between artefact and lore. Her wall sculptures endow objets d’art with their own tales and history, endeavouring to recreate a mythology of her own making. Some pieces are utilitarian, some are adornments, treasures and tools embraced by unanticipated possibilities while creating them. “Imagine an archeological dig where we’ve unearthed the lived work-space of an ancient healer,” Nnawuchi writes, “a medicine woman, the matriarch of the village. These are the items left behind when her village is ravaged by tribal wars, drought, fire or famine. These are the items left behind when you’re fleeing your community and home.”


Yasin Osman, Ducada Hooyo (A Mother’s Prayer), 2017. Image courtesy of artist.

Yasin Osman’s Dear Ayeeyo shares scenes of everyday life in the villages of Somalia with immediacy. The award-winning photographer’s three large-scale works are a tribute to his grandmother that feature intimate portraits and snapshots. The child of Somali parents, Osman returned to his ancestral lands in search of an emotional connection. This installation is a glimpse into his journey home as an outsider who is examining a foreign land, which challenges the misconceptions caused by the media’s destructive images of humanitarian crisis.

Patrons are expected to maintain physical distancing and wear masks while on-site. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, please do not visit the Harbourfront Centre campus.

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Harbourfront Centre is a leading international centre for contemporary arts, culture and ideas, and a registered, charitable not-for-profit cultural organization operating a 10-acre campus on Toronto’s central waterfront. Harbourfront Centre provides year-round programming 52 weeks a year, seven days a week, supporting a wide range of artists and communities. We inspire audiences and visitors with a breadth of bold, ambitious and engaging experiences, and champion contemporary Canadian artists throughout their careers, presenting them alongside international artists, and fostering national and international artistic exchange between disciplines and cultures.