CROWN art show in Port Perry looks at discrimination against Black hair styles


Published February 7, 2023 at 9:53 am

Discrimination against Blacks in Canada often starts right at the top.

Traditional hairstyles, braids, locs, twists, and knots and even the texture of the hair itself has been the subject of racism in the workplace and in schools for generations and now is the focus of an art show at the Scugog Arts Space running all month until February 26th.

‘CROWN’ is a unique show showcasing and honouring Black identities and especially the beauty that is expressed through natural hair. “This is a reminder for Black women and to the world,” said founder Cheryl Rock, “that we belong in every room we enter.”

Presented by Scugog Arts, CROWN is a group show featuring the artwork of Joy Martyr-André, Reisha Felix, and Aisha Chiguichon.

This show is inspired by the Crown Act, which was created in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition, in partnership with then State Senator Holly Mitchell of California to ensure protection against discrimination surrounding race-based hairstyles. The act extended statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids and twists in the workplace and in California public schools.


Joy Martyr-André

“I am reclaiming and rediscovering myself as an artist. Returning to creating after approximately a decade, painting this series represents a reconnecting to my artist identity.

My artwork has always communicated the resistance and royalty of Black identities, and continues to do so. These pieces use collaged textiles and paper as a bold, vibrant backdrop to expressions of the human experience.

The “CROWN” in each piece is a sculpted manifestation of stories told and yet to be told. Of blood memories and power rooted in our hair. These pieces are a celebration of my rediscovery of my artistry and I remain present in this journey.”

Reisha Felix

“I am a self – taught artist with a focus on acrylic painting. I gain artistic inspiration from all that I deem beautiful including Black women and their versatile hair.

Black hair has never just been another body part. Throughout Black History, hair has been art, identity, empowerment, resistance, survival and beauty. I use my Caribbean upbringing and love for texture to influence how I showcase the intricacies of Black hairstyles – one of my treasures that I celebrate on canvas”.

Aisha Chiguichon

Aisha Chiguichon is also self-taught with styles and techniques evolving over many years. She earned a certificate in Art and Design to further hone her skills.  She uses her Caribbean upbringing as inspiration for some of the subject matter for her work. The bright, colourful and vibrant culture of the Caribbean is where she finds the inspiration for the colour schemes for all of her work.  She produces her work mainly as acrylic on canvas, but also works in other formats including fine art prints, acrylic on wood and paper. Her work has most notably featured on the talk show ‘Women on the Rise’ as the set mural backdrop for both seasons. She has also been commissioned for outdoor community art projects.  Her artwork has been exhibited in several Juried and group art shows in Ontario galleries as well as in private collections internationally.

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