I AM ________ ENOUGH

Society puts enormous pressure on Black people the moment they step out of the door.As Canadians, we pride ourselves on our welcoming attitude to diversity, yet BlackCanadians are frequently interrogated on their ethno-cultural authenticity. The pressure to conform to mainstream societal norms is intense, but equally strong is the pressure to fit black stereotypes.In time for Black History Month, the Cheeky Proletariat presents “I AM ________ENOUGH”. 

This bi-coastal production tackles this monolithic narrative of blackness by displaying the words (on Vinyl) “I AM BLACK ENOUGH”. This installation showcases the artistic design talents of Jibola Fagbamiye. It will occupy the Cheeky Proletariat space at 320 Carrall Street in Vancouver's Gastown, across from Pigeon Park. 

Over the course of the month the word “Black” will gradually be removed to reveal a self-affirming statement “I AM ENOUGH”, which pushes back against societal expectations of blackness towards an authentic expression and acceptance of self, which acknowledges the complexity of our humanity. 

Despite being a diverse community from all corners of the world, with a variety of personal experiences, many Black people face the experience of having their identity evaluated. How does it measure up against the popular image of Black culture as seen on TV? 

The result is a feeling of being confined to a “box” where any deviation from the stereotype will attract unwanted attention from confusion, “othering” and frequently bullying. For example, people act surprised when academic pursuits are achieved or if an accent is absent we are told we sound “white” or are very “articulate”. These experiences foster internalized racism and obstruct Black people from the freedom   their authentic selves. This installation is an invitation for community to claim and celebrate their own authentic identities whilst building empathy across cultures.

Jibola Fagbamiye, Artist
www.jibolastudios.com  |  insta: jibolastudios

Jibola Fagbamiye is a multimedia Nigerian artist living in Toronto. His work draws inspiration from his two great loves: African history and North American pop culture. He uses a hybrid of digital design and traditional painting with influences of propaganda poster art, pop art and graphic novels to celebrate that history while inviting viewers to question their presumptions on consumerism, culture and normality. Jibola has exhibited in galleries in Toronto, Miami, New York and Lagos, and was recently featured on CP24. You can find his work, and request commissions on his website.

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