Cheryl Blackman, Shelley Falconer, Nathan Eugene Carson, Joséphine Denis

Cheryl Blackman, Shelley Falconer, Nathan Eugene Carson, Joséphine Denis

Partners in Art (PIA) is proud to support The Power Plant’s project presented in partnership with Kuumba and the Black Curators Forum. Two “In Conversation” events are taking place during February 2021.

The first event In Conversation: Nathan Eugene Carson with Joséphine Denis took place in early Feb. 2021, and the second In Conversation: Cheryl Blackman with Shelley Falconer will take place on Feb. 11, 2021.

Both conversations are available online until the end of February, when they will be archived on Vimeo.

Banner image: Angels with Dirty Faces (2015) by Nathan Eugene Carson

About the First Event

The Power Plant presents Nathan Eugene Carson’s first solo exhibition. The exhibition includes several interrelated series of paintings and mixed media works on paper. Known for figurative explorations of hybrid creatures, animals and human figures – both fictional and historical – Carson’s subjects emerge from richly-pigmented surfaces, and shed light on narratives that weave together themes of Black identity and history, personal memories, and charged symbolism. In the Negro series (2015), one of the artist’s most extensive bodies of work to date, Carson draws on his experiences growing up as a racialized youth in a white-dominated world. The Shine On series (2016), a point of departure from previous works, features abstract portraits on otherwise blank pages, occupying spaces that are imagined or conjured from memory. The exhibition also presents a new series, which consists of brightly–coloured works heavily layered with paint and collage elements.

Co-presented with Kuumba, emerging Hamilton-based artist Nathan Eugene Carson spoke with emerging Montreal-based curator, Joséphine Denis, and discussed his exhibition Cut from the same cloth, and goings-on since the exhibition opened at The Power Plant in Fall 2020.

About the Second Event

In mid-December 2020, Mayor John Tory launched the Awakenings program – a virtual series of art projects by Black, Indigenous and artists of colour. Awakenings is a new program that will feature art projects that explore untold stories, awaken a new perspective and invite the public to join the conversation. The series, supported by a commitment of more than $1.2 million in cultural and economic investments, is part of the City of Toronto’s efforts to address anti-Black racism and will be released over the next couple of years.

Toronto History Museums recognized the need to reassess the way in which they develop, deliver and evaluate their programming. In accordance with the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action in the Museum sector, the Toronto History Museums sites are embracing partnerships that embody Indigenous voices, stories and knowledge into programs, collections management and sites. The Awakenings program begins to address the lack of representation in the stories of Toronto’s history. More than 80 percent of creative people involved in Awakenings art projects are from the Black, Indigenous and people of colour communities.

Co-presented with Kuumba, Cheryl Blackman, the City’s Director of Museum and Heritage Services, will speak about this initiative, followed by conversation with Shelley Falconer, President and CEO of the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

This program is a part of the Black Curators Forum, a knowledge-sharing initiative that aims at fostering exchange and social change, addressing unique challenges and highlighting the marginalized, suppressed and often forgotten contributions of Black art professionals to the field of Museum and Curatorial work.

Founded by Dominique Fontaine (Curator and Founding Director of Aposteriori), Gaëtane Verna (Director, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery), Julie Crooks (Associate Curator, Art Gallery of Ontario) and Pamela Edmonds (Senior Curator, McMaster Museum of Art), the forum is inspired by a belief in the role of Black curators as change-makers and social innovators.

About the artists


Cheryl Blackman is the director of Museums and Heritage Services with the City of Toronto where she is responsible for the 10 city-owned and operated historical museums, the city collection of historical objects, archaeological specimens, moveable fine art and an extensive portfolio of heritage buildings. Prior to joining the City of Toronto, Cheryl served as the assistant vice-president of Audience Development at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Her responsibilities included managing the front of house and audience research, and acting as the Museum’s liaison to more than 1,300 volunteers. She established the ROM’s Community Access Network (ROMCAN) which she grew to more than 80 partnerships with community organizations. Cheryl holds a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), and a Master of Business Administration (MBA), and is a Fellow of Inclusion and Philanthropy from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). She is the chair of the board at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.


Shelley Falconer is president and CEO of the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Her 25-year career includes national and international experience as a consultant, curator, educator and administrator. She has worked as a senior manager and consultant with a variety of important cultural/educational organizations including the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, University of Toronto, Centennial College, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Toronto District School Board, Department of Heritage, Government of Canada, Sotheby’s London and Waddington Galleries, England.


Born, raised and based in Hamilton, Ontario, Nathan Eugene Carson received a BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2005. His drawings and paintings have since been shown at Verso Gallery, Lennox Contemporary, Gallery One, and the Drake Hotel in Toronto. Carson’s work was also featured during the AGO First Thursdays in partnership with the RBC Emerging Artists Projects and StreetARToronto. In 2016, he was part of an exhibition titled Ponto, the first of several held at Oswald Gallery, Hamilton. Other group exhibitions include Free Fall (2016) and Worked Over (2017), both at Oswald Gallery, and 100 Paintings (2019) at The Carnegie Gallery, Dundas, Ontario. A solo exhibition, May You Always See the Light (2017) also at Oswald Gallery, comprised paintings of brightly-rendered animals and whimsical characters emerging from obscure matte grounds. The Power Plant’s exhibition Cut from the same cloth is Carson’s first solo institutional exhibition.


Joséphine Denis was born in Haiti, raised between Port-au-Prince and New York, and currently resides in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. She is a curator and writer whose practice centres on creation and narration in BIPOC spaces. Denis is an advocate of Black diasporic art, critical engagement and institutional transformations through which artists and publics can co-create affective networks of radical change. She is currently head of public programs and outreach at SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Denis previously worked at Serpentine Galleries, London, UK; Faurschou Foundation, Beijing; and, Lehmann Maupin, New York.

Joséphine Denis

Nathan Eugene Carson

Cheryl Blackman

Shelley Falconer

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