Public Parking
A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
Negotiating beauty in times of grief: in conversation with Emmanuel Osahor
Tuesday, March 9, 2021 | Christina Battle
When I moved back to Edmonton in 2019, I started scouring social media in search of other Black artists working in the city. I knew they were here, but I wasn’t seeing them at any of the public art programming I was attending, and I took note of their absence. Through this online research, I quickly came to know Emmanuel Osahor’s work but, since he was in the process of moving to Guelph, Ontario to start his graduate, we didn’t have a chance to meet IRL. By the winter of 2020 I had the opportunity to experience Emmanuel’s work in person: first in even the birds are walking (an exhibition we both participated in) curated by Noor Bhangu for Latitude 53; and soon after, at his solo exhibition No Place at the McMullen gallery. Both experiences left me thinking deeply about care, beauty, ecology, the (im)/possibilities of utopia, poverty, inclusion, diversity, community, and the complexity of pushing against dominant narratives. Emmanuel’s multidisciplinary work opens up questions around how we might reconcile the blurry lines of overlap and opposition between all of these things at once. Born in Nigeria, Emmanuel has been practicing in Canada since 2010. His artistic work has explored processes of painting, photography and installation.