The UNB Art Centre celebrates Black History Month with a special exhibition and program that highlights the creative and historical presence of Black Canadians in the Maritimes.

The exhibition Excavation: Memory Work by Sylvia D. Hamilton is on view until February 23. Ms. Hamilton, a well-respected member of the Black community in Atlantic Canada, is an award-winning poet and filmmaker, artist and educator who currently teaches in the School of Journalism and Contemporary Studies at the University of King’s College in Halifax.

Excavation: Memory Work, is an adaptive multi-media installation in which the artist presents ideas of place, memory and history through selections of text and objects relative to the space in which it is displayed. Here at the UNB Art Centre, Sylvia D. Hamilton mines the collection of Kings Landing and the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick for artifacts and photographs to tell the story of Black settlement in the region. Based on decades of research and reflection, this powerful and thought-provoking display will challenge our ideas and assumptions about what we know about our collective past.


(All events will be held at the UNB Art Centre in Memorial Hall on the UNB campus unless otherwise indicated and are free to the public.)

Lecture Series:

On February 7 at 7:00 pm Mary Louise McCarthy will speak about her research into the history of the Black presence in New Brunswick in A Black Woman’s Narrative of Death, Graveyards and Segregation in New Brunswick. Ms. McCarthy is President of the New Brunswick Black History Society and is a doctoral student in the Department of Social Justice at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Ms. McCarthy also successfully challenged and won a case against racial profiling.

On February 14 at 7:00 pm Robyn Maynard will be reading from her new book published by Fernwood Publishing entitled Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present. The lecture is presented with assistance from the Departments of History and English.

Ms. Maynard has worked on the front lines of community outreach in Montreal, co-founded Noir, a Black activist group committed to opposing racism in Quebec, she is part of the Black Indigenous Harm Reduction Alliance, she also helped found Justice for Victims of Police Killing. Her writing has appeared in academic publications as well as in mainstream and activist media.

On February 20 at 7:00 pm Dr. Afua Cooper will give a lecture entitledSlavery and the Construction of Black People as Property: The Legacy. This is the Department of History’s 2nd Annual Black History Month Lecture. *Please note that this lecture will be held at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick located at 23 Dineen Drive on the UNB campus.

Dr. Cooper is currently the James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies and is Associate Professor of Sociology and History at Dalhousie University and the founder of the Black Canadian Studies Association. Dr. Cooper’s research explores the period of enslavement and emancipation in 18th and 19th century Canada. She is an acclaimed poet, and co-founder of the Dub Poets Collective. She was named as one of the twenty-five women who are shaping the world by Essence Magazine.

On February 20 at noon, Dr. Cooper will also give a Poetry Reading in the UNB Art Centre, Memorial Hall.

Film Series:

On February 8 at noon, two films will be screened. The first is an award winning animated short film Black Soul/Âme noire, 2000 (9 min) directed by Martine Bertrand. Through the continuous morphing of image and sound, the history of the African diaspora unfolds through the story told by an elderly grandmother to her young grandson. The short film will be followed by Sisters in the Struggle, 1991 (49 min) directed by Dionne Brand and Ginny Stikeman. Black women activists share their experiences and their insights as they struggle with the dual problem of racism and sexism. Though produced 27 years ago, their words continue to resonate decades later.

February 9 at noonSpeakers for the Dead, 2000 (49 min) directed by David Sutherland and Jennifer Holness. An effort to restore the Priceville cemetery polarizes a community in rural Ontario and uncovers a secret history of black settlers in the region.

February 12 at noonThe Road Taken, 1996 (52 min) directed by Selwyn Jacob. While Black women often found employment as domestic servants, fewer jobs were available to Black men. Following in the footsteps of the Pullman company in the US, Canada employed Black men as sleeping car porters. Despite the long hours, low wages and harsh working conditions these porters retain pride in their work and in their accomplishments.

February 13 at noonJourney to Justice, 2000 (47 min) directed by Roger McTair. Documenting the struggles of Canadian Civil rights activists during the 1930s-1950s, this film shows the courage of people like Viola Desmond, Fred Christie, Hugh Burnette, Stanley Grizzle, Donald Willard Moore and Bromley Armstrong who took their cases to court and changed Canadian history.

Celebrate Black History Month at the UNB Art Centre!

The UNB Art Centre is located at Memorial Hall, 9 Bailey Drive, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. The galleries are open 9 am – 4 pm weekdays and for special events. Admission is free to members of the public. Everyone welcome!

For more information:


Twitter @UNBArtCentre

Marie E. Maltais, Director, UNB Art Centre

(506) 453-4623