“Many of us left as artists, those classmates are still the crew I turn to to explore my ideas.”
Anique Jordan’s vision and voice is making a remarkable impact in Toronto’s art community very early in her art career. Interested in alternative systems of survival, she started her MES with the intent of continuing her work in entrepreneurship and Community Economic Development with Black communities as an urban planner. Calling her time in FES transformative, she has emerged with her goal intact but with an unanticipated creative and cultural tool set to do the work.
A first generation Canadian, Jordan is intensely aware of the multitude of sacrifices her Trinidadian mother made to build a life in Canada. As a result, her academic path was focused on having a traditional career. When her thesis supervisor, Professor Honor Ford Smith, encouraged her to deeply consider her plan of study and think about developing creative material as her major research project, Jordan was incredulous. But she did eventually concede, realizing she was interested in investigating the different ways one can answer a question. “I don’t want to do something that will get me a job, I want to do something that will transform who I am,” she said.
Fast forward to now, after embracing Ford Smith’s suggestions, part of her MES thesis was included in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s groundbreaking 2015 Scratch & Mix Project, which led to being commissioned to create two new works for the AGO’s 2016 exhibition The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris. One of those works was then acquired by Toronto’s Wedge Curatorial Projects, a non-profit organization with a focus on Black identity in contemporary art. Jordan was recently awarded the 2017 Emerging Artist Award from Toronto Arts Foundation. She is employed as a researcher in the AGO’s curatorial department and working on the up coming exhibition Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood. Jordan is also the executive director of the Whippersnapper Gallery, an artist run center dedicated to emerging artists with a dynamic youth program and evening workshops at 594b Dundas Street West.
Amidst this full schedule she continues her transdisciplinary artistic practice which spans performance, poetry, photography and installation and focuses on Black women and questioning the authority of the Canadian archives. Jordan often evokes and explores Trinidadian mas’ Carnival, erased or omitted Black histories and hauntology which she describes as “the study of what is not visible but still present in our day to day lives.”
Jordan’s recent shows include a group show of Wedge Collection photographs titled Position As Desired: Exploring African Canadian Identity, February 11 – May 7, 2017 at the Art Gallery of Windsor, a collaboration with Myseum Intersections called In the Shadow of Paradise at Y+ Contemporary in Scarborough and an upcoming group exhibition, titled Migrating the Margins at the Art Gallery of York University in September.
Her time at FES was just as busy. In addition to her MES, Jordan added two graduate diplomas in Business and Sustainability which is offered jointly by FES with the Schulich School of Business and Latin American and Caribbean Studies offered through CERLAC. In 2014 she held a fellowship in the first cohort of Studio Y at Mars Discovery District, was selected as an Ashoka-AMEX Emerging Innovator, was invited to participate in The Drawing Room, an international poets residency held in Jamaica, was published in several anthologies and worked in a township in South Africa thinking through ideas of cultural production and survival. Concurrently with her degree, Jordan was also an artist-in-residence in d’bi.young anitafrika’s The Watah School while leading regular community workshops for Black students. When she graduated, her thesis was recognized as an Outstanding Graduate Paper faculty wide.
“It was my supervisor [Ford-Smith] and student organizers who pushed me to experiment with my creative potential and further the language to speak and write against the backdrop of a society incapable of coming to terms with its colonial and racist roots,” Jordan said.
“It was in one of Honor’s classes that ended up almost exclusively Black students that we found a space deeply think through our experience as Black students in higher education,” said Jordan. “That class helped me cope, in that space we found freedom and release. I didn’t realize how much time I spent guarded and trying to protect myself. Many of us had breakthroughs in the space she created for us to express ourselves. And ironically enough, many of us left as artists, those classmates are still the crew I turn to to explore my ideas.”
- 2017 Emerging Artist Award from Toronto Arts Foundation
- Outstanding Graudate Student Paper - York University
- 2014 Ashoka-AMEX Changemakers Emerging Innovator Award
- Barbados-Canada Friendship Scholarship
- York International Mobility Award
- Sr. Staff of the Year Award - Toronto Community Housing Corporation
- Community Hero Award - Malvern in Motion