Williams leads a new Black Canadian designation via Parks Canada’s Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada program, and the innovative The Fabric Of Our Being textile series, presented in partnership with Hydro One
TORONTO (August 1, 2023) - Toronto based multi-award-winning poet, author, visual artist and arts educator Nadine Williams, owner, Nadine Williams Collective, is elevating conversations for Emancipation Day today with two milestone projects highlighting Black Canadian contributions to our nationwide historical landscape.
First, Williams championed three significant events of the journey of Black Peoples in Canada, which are now officially designated by Parks Canada’s Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) program. These historical designation efforts included artistic advocacy with the HSMBC program to champion prominent Black Canadian narratives, with three having been designated thus far; “The Enslavement of Africans in Canada”, “The West Indian Domestic Scheme” and that of legendary Halifax boxer, George Dixon (1870-1908).
George Dixon, who was the first ever Black boxer, and first Canadian to win world titles, received official historic designation in 2021. Williams attended the unveiling of Dixon’s commemorative bronze plaque at the Africville Museum in Halifax on June 12, 2023.
A fourth event being announced today, “Emancipation Day Celebrations”, is now designated as a historically significant Canadian event thanks to Williams’ nomination.
Next, in partnership with Hydro One, is the continuation of Williams’ “The Fabric Of Our Being” public art installation, an inspiring textile series fusing art and poetry, which depicts multiple Black Canadian experiences. Williams’ latest partnership with Hydro One, will create five new installations which brings awareness to The UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD), with many more to come.
“Hydro One is extremely proud to help support and recognize this incredible initiative from the Nadine Williams Pen Foundation that puts a spotlight on Black Canadian history,” said Farah Alexis, Vice President, Talent and Culture, Hydro One. “We believe a better and brighter future hinges on inspiring the next generation and this expansive project is doing just that.”
The Fabric of Our Being consists of resplendent and handcrafted high quality quilts, artfully accented with prominent, and underknown Black themes and stories. Past quilts, which Williams prepared for various GTA and Edmonton schools, include illustrations of Willie O’Ree, Dr. Jean Augustine, Louise Bennett Coverley, aka “Miss Lou”, Violet King, Dr. Douglas Salmon, among others.
Williams, a Jamaican-Canadian, is a regular presenter at schools across Canada and abroad. In that role, Williams is vested with mentoring and supporting the next generation of authors, writers and scholars.
“By conveying historical records via artistic expression, we are affirming Black Canadian identity in a profound and generational way. We are also contributing to a larger global conversation about people of African descent, of which Black Canadians have played an integral role since before Confederation. Let’s make this available to the world!”, Nadine Williams, owner, Nadine Williams Collective.
Apart from the George Dixon unveiling in Halifax in June, there are other Historic Monuments yet to be unveiled at multiple locations upcoming by the HSMBC based on Williams’ efforts. “The Enslavement of Africans in Canada”, and “The West Indian Domestic Scheme”, details are pending, while The Fabric of Our Being installations are available widely and are ongoing.
About Nadine Williams
Multi-award-winning poet, author and arts educator Nadine Williams, is a Jamaican-Canadian who has published three collections of poetry, two children’s books and over fifteen volumes of literature for Black History Month. These creations are a staple in the curricula of several schools in Canada in celebration of Black History. She is a regular presenter at schools across Canada, including local universities and was the distinguished guest speaker to the prestigious African Writers Club at the University of Vienna in May 2019.
She is the recipient of several awards from all levels of Government as well as the York Regional Police Deeds Speak Award 2014, received parliamentary mention for significant contribution to Black History in Canada in 2019, was recently named among the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women (100ABC) 2022. She has read poetry for former First Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama, The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Canada’s former Governor General, the Prime Minister’s of both Canada and Jamaica and is the Resident Poet for the Caribbean Consular Corps.
Wendy Vincent/Director, Konvo Media