Thresholds marks 20th anniversary of Dionne Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return
A digital project commissioned as part of A Map to the Door of No Return at 20: A Gathering organized by Drs. Christina Sharpe and Andrea Davis, York University
Nov. 3–6, 2021
Exhibition launching November 3, 2021 at www.thresholdsproject.com
Featuring: Mohamed Abdulkarim Ali, Christina Battle, Sandra Brewster, Kevin Adonis Browne, Chantal Gibson, Canisia Lubrin, Cecily Nicholson, Abdi Osman, Camille Turner
Curator: Ellyn Walker
Announcing the launch of the digital project Thresholds, in conjunction with the start of the 4-day virtual event, A Map to the Door of No Return at 20: A Gathering, hosted by York University.
Thresholds is an online curatorial project inspired by poet, novelist, nonfiction writer Dionne Brand’s 2001 book, A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging. Thresholds brings together works by Mohamed Abdulkarim Ali, Christina Battle, Sandra Brewster, Kevin Adonis Browne, Chantal Gibson, Canisia Lubrin, Cecily Nicholson, Abdi Osman, and Camille Turner— visual artists, poets, and writers. Reflecting on the twentieth anniversary of Brand’s canonical text that uses the space of the doorway as schema, these artists take up that doorway as the conceptual and aesthetic frame through which to consider questions of diaspora and belonging in settler-colonial contexts like Canada and elsewhere. ‘The Door of No Return’ figures as threshold—at its core it represents Black diasporic space. In turn, it implicates all people in histories of enslavement, dislocation, migration, and (re)settlement, which are tied to larger projects of white supremacy, settler colonialism, and capitalism. Thresholds offers critical listening encounters, points of relation, passages, portals, and pathways as possibilities in which new understandings of history and our interrelations emerge.
The exhibition will be activated through a live panel discussion between the curator, artists, poets, and writers, that will take place live on November 3, 2021, from 5:00–6:30 pm EST online, as part of A Map to the Door of No Return at 20: A Gathering, organized by Drs. Christina Sharpe and Andrea Davis, York University, November 3–6, 2021. Register for the Gathering now!
Spend time with each of the works on the exhibition’s website and return to them again and again, like so many of us have done with Map for so long.
A Map to the Door of No Return at 20: A Gathering
This 4-day virtual webinar and participatory workshop takes place from November 3–6, 2021, where artists, scholars and writers will gather to take stock of, reflect on, and extend the important work that Dionne Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging has done in the world. Register now!
Virtual Gathering: November 3–6, 2021
For a full list of participants and schedule of events, visit: www.maptothedoorat20.com
Organized by Drs. Christina Sharpe and Andrea Davis, York University
There are few works published in the past 20 years that have had as profound and generative an influence on diverse audiences as Dionne Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return. A poetic text comprised of essays, memories, vignettes, historical fragments, and readings of painting and literature toward a theorization of Diasporic Black life (Toronto and Vancouver, Johannesburg, Grenada and Trinidad) in the wake of slavery, A Map to the Door of No Return has inspired and challenged readers in North America and around the world who have taken up Brand’s work on the door as schema—the opposite of a shoring up of a narrative of origins—and its challenges to what nation and belonging might mean, after that step through the ‘door of no return.’ In the academic realm, Map has been the subject of theses and dissertations, quotations and citations appear in the work of literary scholars of Canadian literature, Caribbean literature, Diaspora literature and literary theory, but also in the work of historians, sociologists, visual artists, anthropologists, and theorists across a range of disciplines. Outside of the academy, Map has inspired a variety of expressive responses. Map introduces and puts pressure on any number of terms in relation to Black life: Cartography and Geography; Memory; Longing; Return; Belonging; Archive; Diaspora; Literature; History. Map continues to be a generative point of departure for work in Black Studies.
Thresholds and A Map to the Door of No Return at 20: A Gathering are presented
with support from York University, Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (York University), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Government of Canada, Canada Research Chairs. School of English and Theatre Studies (Guelph University), Department of English (Simon Fraser University), International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, and Silence.