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As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic

Toronto  |  Canada  | 

As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic

As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic, is an exciting compilation of photographs from African diasporic culture. Drawn from Dr. Kenneth Montague’s Wedge Collection in Toronto—a Black-owned collection dedicated to artists of African descent—As We Rise looks at multifaceted ideas of Black life through the lenses of community, identity, and power.

With over one hundred works by Black artists from Canada, the Caribbean, Great Britain, the United States, South America, as well as throughout the African continent, As We Rise provides a timely exploration of Black identity on both sides of the Atlantic. 

As Teju Cole describes in his preface, “Too often in the larger culture, we see images of Black people in attitudes of despair, pain, or brutal isolation. As We Rise gently refuses that. It is not that people are always in an attitude of celebration—no, that would be a reverse but corresponding falsehood—but rather that they are present as human beings, credible, fully engaged in their world.” 

Artists such as Stan Douglas, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Barkley L. Hendricks, Liz Johnson Artur, Seydou Keïta, Deana Lawson, Jamel Shabazz, Texas Isaiah, and Carrie Mae Weems touch on themes of agency, beauty, joy, belonging, subjectivity, and self-representation. 

Writings by Isolde Brielmaier, Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Mark Sealy, Teka Selman, and Deborah Willis, among others, provide insight and commentary on this monumental collection. 

A preface by Teju Cole, an introduction by Mark Sealy, and an interview by Liz Ikiriko contextualize Dr. Kenneth Montague’s inspiring collection. 

Dr. Kenneth Montague started the Wedge Collection in 1997 to acquire and exhibit art that explores Black identity. In addition to the Wedge Collection, Montague founded Wedge Curatorial Projects, a nonprofit arts organization that helps to support emerging Black artists. A Toronto-based art collector, Montague has been a member of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s board of trustees since 2015. He has served on the African acquisitions committee at Tate Modern, London, and is an advisor to the Department of Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora at the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

For more on The Wedge Collection on IC view this Online Exhibition and read more in the BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors.

Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Dawit L. Petros, Hadenbes, 2005, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Dawit L. Petros, courtesy the artist/ Bradley Ertaskiran
Dawit L. Petros, Hadenbes, 2005, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Dawit L. Petros, courtesy the artist/ Bradley Ertaskiran
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
LaToya Ruby Frazier, Huxtables, Mom and Me, 2008, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © LaToya Ruby Frazier, courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels
LaToya Ruby Frazier, Huxtables, Mom and Me, 2008, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © LaToya Ruby Frazier, courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Deana Lawson, Coulson Family, 2008, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Deana Lawson, courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
Deana Lawson, Coulson Family, 2008, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Deana Lawson, courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
Vanley Burke, Boy with Flag, Winford, in Handsworth Park, 1970, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Vanley Burke
Vanley Burke, Boy with Flag, Winford, in Handsworth Park, 1970, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Vanley Burke
Hassan Hajjaj, Nido Bouchra, 2000/1421 (Greogrian/Hijri ), from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Hassan Hajjaj, courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
Hassan Hajjaj, Nido Bouchra, 2000/1421 (Greogrian/Hijri ), from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Hassan Hajjaj, courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
Zun Lee, Jebron Felder and his son Jae’shaun at home, Harlem, New York, September 2011, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Zun Lee, courtesy Zun Lee, from the Father Figure Project
Zun Lee, Jebron Felder and his son Jae’shaun at home, Harlem, New York, September 2011, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Zun Lee, courtesy Zun Lee, from the Father Figure Project
Jamel Shabazz, Back in the Days, Harlem, New York, 1985, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Jamel Shabazz, courtesy Jamel Shabazz
Jamel Shabazz, Back in the Days, Harlem, New York, 1985, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Jamel Shabazz, courtesy Jamel Shabazz
Jamel Shabazz, Best Friends, Brooklyn, New York, 1981, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Jamel Shabazz, courtesy Jamel Shabazz
Jamel Shabazz, Best Friends, Brooklyn, New York, 1981, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Jamel Shabazz, courtesy Jamel Shabazz
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Kennedi Carter, Untitled (Self-Portrait), 2020, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Kennedi Carter, courtesy Kennedi Carter
Kennedi Carter, Untitled (Self-Portrait), 2020, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Kennedi Carter, courtesy Kennedi Carter
Seydou Keïta, Untitled, 1952–55, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Seydou Keïta/SKPEAC
Seydou Keïta, Untitled, 1952–55, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Seydou Keïta/SKPEAC
Texas Isaiah, My Name Is My Name I, 2016, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Texas Isaiah
Texas Isaiah, My Name Is My Name I, 2016, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Texas Isaiah
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
James Barnor, Drum Cover Girl Erlin Ibreck, Kilburn, London, 1966, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ James Barnor, courtesy Autograph ABP
James Barnor, Drum Cover Girl Erlin Ibreck, Kilburn, London, 1966, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ James Barnor, courtesy Autograph ABP
Samuel Fosso, ‘70s Lifestyle, 1975–78, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Samuel Fosso, courtesy JM.PATRAS/PARIS
Samuel Fosso, ‘70s Lifestyle, 1975–78, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Samuel Fosso, courtesy JM.PATRAS/PARIS
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Book spread from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021)
Dawit L. Petros, Sign, 2003, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Dawit L. Petros, courtesy the artist/ Bradley Ertaskiran
Dawit L. Petros, Sign, 2003, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Dawit L. Petros, courtesy the artist/ Bradley Ertaskiran
Lebohang Kganye, Re shapa setepe sa lenyalo II, 2013, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Lebohang Kganye
Lebohang Kganye, Re shapa setepe sa lenyalo II, 2013, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Lebohang Kganye
Courtney D. Garvin, Bre & Josh, 2015, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Courtney D. Garvin, courtesy the artist
Courtney D. Garvin, Bre & Josh, 2015, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Courtney D. Garvin, courtesy the artist
Xaviera Simmons, Denver, 2008, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Xaviera Simmons, courtesy the artist and David Castillo
Xaviera Simmons, Denver, 2008, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). @ Xaviera Simmons, courtesy the artist and David Castillo