Chantal Gibson Artist-Educator
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Vancouver BC

Souvenir 2018

When we see stereotypes of Black people, we are really seeing whiteness.

When we stereotype, we participate in a systemic, hegemonic practice of erasure.

~C. Gibson, artist’s positon statement


Souvenir is a multi-media installation that challenges the persistent positioning of people of African descent—as displayed, displaced and disappeared—within Canadian literary, historical, and institutional narratives. 


A collection of 2000 souvenir spoons from countries all over the world are displayed on giant spoon racks fixed to the museum walls, quietly hanging in rows, side by side, each spoon blackened with spray paint. National symbols, cultural markers obscured, colours, details and nuances erased, the origins of the displaced spoons are unknown.


Currently on display at Les Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal.

Project details below:

Tome 2014

 The material is the message. 

~C. Gibson 


TOME: Passages in Black History is a mixed-media installation. Made from coffee stained cotton, products that drove the African slave trade, this dense book complete with footnotes is a topographical landscape of memory. It is imagined from a larger historical narrative about the African Diaspora, the part that remains unknown. 


Situated in libraries with other historical and fictional works, this text offers new ways of reading, experiencing and understanding a complex history of beauty, creativity and struggle.

Project details below:

Book/mark 2010

  

The humble bookmark serves many purposes. As a memory device it is an efficient technology. It marks the last page read, it marks the point of return. It marks a moment, a passage, a thought, a phrase, an idea, or a word to be remembered. It marks the reader’s movement through space and time, it maps the reader’s journey through the world of the work. 


Book/mark is a mixed media work that binds together 3000 bookmarks to commemorate two key historical moments in 1783: the writing of the historical Book of Negroes, the largest single document about black people in North America up until the end of the eighteenth century; and the arrival of the Black Loyalists to Nova Scotia, the largest single migration of Blacks to Canada.


Made from treated fabric and jute rope, the piece was inspired by the novel The Book of Negroes, a work of historical fiction by Canadian author Lawrence Hill (2008). 


Project details below: