Art exhibition explores the power of Black dreams

by Lincoln Depradine
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Artists that are exhibiting at Union Station

Photographer Yasin Osman, as a preschool and toddler classroom teacher, listened to the
children and came to understand the things they dreamed of achieving in life and “how
articulate they are, how smart they are and how amazing they are”, he said.
“A six-year-old could talk about their dreams about wanting to help others and wanting to
be a doctor and so I thought it was important for me to be able to show people those stories
that I am always so used to,” said Osman, explaining the idea behind the children’s photos
that he is showcasing at Union Station in Toronto.
Osman is doing a solo show, while half-dozen other artists are participating in the
collaborative “Black Dreams and Aspirations”.
The collaborators of “Black Dreams and Aspirations” are Union Station, Toronto
Dominion Bank and MakeRoom Inc. – a curatorial agency and an arts organization.
The organizers are advising the public to visit the exhibition and not miss “this unique
opportunity to witness bold colours, regal stances and dreamlike states, all reflecting
themes of community, self-possession, connection to the past, creativity and the power of
The hope, they added, is that “everyone can see this exhibition, be inspired to dream again
and believe that a better future is possible for all”.
This is the second consecutive year of an exhibition of its type by the three partners. Last
year’s, also mounted at Union Station, lasted 114 days. It was called, “Black Joy is
Trevor Twells, lead product designer of MakeRoom Inc., which he founded in 2019, said
“Black Dreams and Aspirations”, was chosen as a non-monolithic title for the exhibition.
“We wanted something that gave diverse voices, as well as gave room to play and
imagination,” he explained at the exhibition’s opening.
“So, we chose the question, what does it mean to dream while Black? And dreams are
important because they are the building blocks of life. They are the building blocks of
progress. The dreams of the past create the present and the dreams of the present create the
future. In order to crate progress, it starts with a dream.”
Grenadian Canadian Nekeba Modeste, a senior TD manager who also spoke at the
exhibit’s opening, expressed the bank’s “ongoing commitment” to sponsorship of
community events to help “create pathways to build more inclusive and equitable futures
for all”.
TD’s support of the various initiatives seeks to “break down barriers, amplify diverse
voices and drive long term systematic changes”, she added.
The exhibits are on display at Union’s West Wing and Oak Room.
Syma Shah, executive director of programming at Union Station, said management and
staff are “passionate about reflecting the diversity of Canadians through our
multidisciplinary programming vision. This vision encourages and celebrates creativity,
diversity, inclusion and accessibility through our free year-round events that showcase
Toronto’s cultural scene.”
“Black Dreams and Aspirations” features the work of 12 Continental and Diaspora African
Canadians who explore themes such as community, self-possession, connection to the past,
creativity and the power of imagination.

The creations of a group of six are now on display at Union Station’s West Wing. The art
of the others will replace the first group of six, halfway through the exhibition that runs
until August 31.
The current six on display are Yaw Tony, Yomi Orimoloye, Sarah Waithe, Miss Daisy,

Segun Caezar and Zambian-born Kahame Msiska, who told Share that he’s “on a never-
ending pilgrimage, yearning to return home”.

His art, according to Msiska, “displays the struggles and inner turmoil of a child uprooted
from his home”.
Photographer Osman is a special guest, who is exhibiting his “Dreaming in Colour” in
Union’s Oak Room.
Osman’s solo show, which is shot using film, is a collection of large black and white
portraits of young Black Somali children, ages 11 to 16, and it will run the length of the
He utilized black and white photos, said Osman, because he wanted no distractions from
the focus on the children who were talking to him about their dreams.
“I wanted the portraits to be very intimate, one-on-one,” said Osman, who has studied
childhood education.
The exhibits by Osman and the other six are open daily during Union Station’s operation
hours. Admission is free.

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