RAGGA NYC
 HOW HAS YOUR BACKGROUND AFFECTED YOUR LIFE/ WORK?      Being Trinidadian, being queer, being an immigrant to Canada and being unconditionally loved by my mother have all completely shaped my practice in significant ways. And also, feeling extra, as Trinis say. My earliest experiences involve being a little masculine girlchild who was sensitive and had big emotions, but who also had the space and the support to be vulnerable and to be different. But there is also an exaggerated performativity in Trinidadian culture - we like to gallery and put on a grand show and that was part of my growing up that has seeped its way into my personality and into my work as well. Then when I left at 19, I had to renegotiate my relationships to myself within Canadian culture and that remains an ongoing process. In particular, I have had to come to understand myself within blackness as it is defined and manifested in all its complexities within a North American context, and that has come with its own joys and its own tensions. But more than anything else, it is my mother's death in 2011 that has most affected both my life and my work, and everything I do is in her memory. She was a giant in my world and she held space for all my pains and my fears and my insecurities, and in a lot of ways, that's why I try to do the same thing with my work.

Michèle Reppin Trinidad and Tobago

NAME: Michèle Pearson Clarke
AGE: 45
ISLAND: Trinidad and Tobago
CRAFT: Visual Artist / Writer / Educator

 HOW HAS YOUR BACKGROUND AFFECTED YOUR LIFE/ WORK?      Being Trinidadian, being queer, being an immigrant to Canada and being unconditionally loved by my mother have all completely shaped my practice in significant ways. And also, feeling extra, as Trinis say. My earliest experiences involve being a little masculine girlchild who was sensitive and had big emotions, but who also had the space and the support to be vulnerable and to be different. But there is also an exaggerated performativity in Trinidadian culture - we like to gallery and put on a grand show and that was part of my growing up that has seeped its way into my personality and into my work as well. Then when I left at 19, I had to renegotiate my relationships to myself within Canadian culture and that remains an ongoing process. In particular, I have had to come to understand myself within blackness as it is defined and manifested in all its complexities within a North American context, and that has come with its own joys and its own tensions. But more than anything else, it is my mother's death in 2011 that has most affected both my life and my work, and everything I do is in her memory. She was a giant in my world and she held space for all my pains and my fears and my insecurities, and in a lot of ways, that's why I try to do the same thing with my work.

HOW HAS YOUR BACKGROUND AFFECTED YOUR LIFE/ WORK?


Being Trinidadian, being queer, being an immigrant to Canada and being unconditionally loved by my mother have all completely shaped my practice in significant ways. And also, feeling extra, as Trinis say. My earliest experiences involve being a little masculine girlchild who was sensitive and had big emotions, but who also had the space and the support to be vulnerable and to be different. But there is also an exaggerated performativity in Trinidadian culture - we like to gallery and put on a grand show and that was part of my growing up that has seeped its way into my personality and into my work as well. Then when I left at 19, I had to renegotiate my relationships to myself within Canadian culture and that remains an ongoing process. In particular, I have had to come to understand myself within blackness as it is defined and manifested in all its complexities within a North American context, and that has come with its own joys and its own tensions. But more than anything else, it is my mother's death in 2011 that has most affected both my life and my work, and everything I do is in her memory. She was a giant in my world and she held space for all my pains and my fears and my insecurities, and in a lot of ways, that's why I try to do the same thing with my work.


3b.jpg
 WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU (UPCOMING PROJECTS)?     Currently, I'm working on  What We Owe to Each Other , which is a public research project on transformative justice that is part of the RAGGA NYC exhibition here in Toronto in June. And I'm also working on a film photography project that will be on view in upcoming solo exhibitions in Toronto and Montreal. And longer term, I'm slowly working on  The Shortest Distance Between Two People , which is a performance photography project exploring the construction of black queer female masculinity via the father-daughter relationship. 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU (UPCOMING PROJECTS)?


Currently, I'm working on What We Owe to Each Other, which is a public research project on transformative justice that is part of the RAGGA NYC exhibition here in Toronto in June. And I'm also working on a film photography project that will be on view in upcoming solo exhibitions in Toronto and Montreal. And longer term, I'm slowly working on The Shortest Distance Between Two People, which is a performance photography project exploring the construction of black queer female masculinity via the father-daughter relationship. 

 Photo by:  Jorian Alea

Photo by: Jorian Alea