|CREATING SOMETHING SPECIAL AS A PART OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH|
MONTREAL, FEBRUARY 20, 2014 – In collaboration with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) and the Foundations Rely on Origins (FRO) organization, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation is presenting the educational exhibition, The 4th Wall: Making the Invisible Visible. This display consists of works by eight young artists selected from the Black communities of Montreal. one of whom is Tanisha Mapp, an arts teacher at Bancroft Elementary School in the Plateau.
The 4th Wall: Making the Invisible Visible, is an exhibit that offers young artists the opportunity to make visible the invisible realities with which they are confronted in our society. At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts young people from Black communities have done this by reinterpreting artworks that are deeply rooted in the heritage of Quebec and of Canada. “The result is fascinating and challenges us all,”, stated Right Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond, co-founders and co-presidents of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.
“The inspiration behind my art is a fairly new artist named Valerie Blass,” says Ms. Mapp. “She was my inspiration and influenced me because I saw how monumental her piece was and I liked the fact that she used ‘ready-made art,’ which is basically taking different found objects and putting them together. It attracted me because it is very different and very unique. You can really interpret it in many ways. I felt that within her piece there was a sort of hidden identity.”
The concept of hidden identity and what is considered to be invisible is the message and dialogue of the exhibit, The 4th Wall: Making the Invisible Visible. “For me, the concept of invisibility simply means not to give credit where it’s due.,” Ms. Mapp explained. “ It is like saying your art doesn’t matter. It’s sad to say, but we are in 2014 and this is the first time a group of black artists have had their work exhibited at the MMFA. It just goes to show you that we have been invisible. But now we are becoming visible. From our work with the Michaëlle Jean Foundation and the competition, the eight of us that competed are now being referred to and recognized as the Group of Eight! We are being compared to the infamous Group of Seven. It is really amazing and truly a blessing.”
Ms. Mapp brings the theme of self-identity, visibility and inspiration into her art classes:
“I am teaching the students a lot about race and self-identity,” she says. “I really try and express to them that I look forward to the process of them creating their work and not necessarily the end result. I tell them that it is important to explore and learn about the process from yourself. I really do encourage them to be different and that if your work is not perfect then that in itself is what makes it so beautiful.”
Michael J. Cohen