Project Description

“Changemakers” is an art collaborative project featuring Black women in Montreal who work tirelessly to create positive change in their communities. The collaboration merges the unique yet complimentary processes and aesthetic styles of two Montreal artists, Shanna Strauss, a mixed media artist and Kevin Calixte a fine arts photographer. The exhibition, featured at the MAI Center, was part of the Forum social mondial 2016 World Social Forum-Canada.
As gender and racial minorities, Black women are often underrepresented in many aspects of socio-economic and political life. For those who engage in community work, this reality is more true as their efforts are often unseen and unrewarded. Despite this reality, they continue to push forward and work hard for positive change.
Emerging filmmaker and animator Noncedo Odecnon Khumalo, created this short documentary for CBC Art on ‘Changemakers’.
Exhibition view at the MAI gallery, Montreal, Canada 2016
Tali, 2016
Photo-transfer, acrylic, woodcut on found wood 23″ x 31″
On change making:

“Rage is the crease in peace for those who know defeat
Find your strategies in books you read
And food that feeds champion needs
To settle feats of wrongful deeds” , Lyrics from “Uprising”

Tali Taliwah

Annick,  2016
Photo transfer, acrylic, fabric,  wood burning, woodcut on found wood 22″ x  33”
On change making:

“The beauty about change is that it is constant and inevitable but also malleable. We can change apart, we can change without direction or we can choose to change together. Changing together takes effort, time, vision, understanding, and trust but it’s impact is like no other. That’s the change I’m building towards”.

Annick MF

 Maguy, 2016
Photo transfer, acrylic, fabric,
woodcut on found wood
35” x 26″
On change making:

“Maya Angelou perfectly describes what being a changemaker means to me: ‘Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud’ ”

Maguy Métellus

 Ma’liCiouZ, 2016
Photo transfer, wood burning
and beads on found wood,
42″ x 26″
On change making:

«Être une «Changemaker» pour moi signifie vivre activement à l’ère de mon temps en incarnant mon héritage et en tenant compte du futur dans mes choix.»


Patricia, 2016
Photo transfer acrylic, fabric on found wood
27″ x 34″
On change making:

“People don’t always understand how hard black lgbt community building can be. We were hurt and we are still hurt. Keeping these communities alive is a question of survival. So let’s give ourselves a chance. A chance to heal, a chance to find ourselves, a chance to love ourselves, a chance to love each other, a chance to trust each other and a chance to thrive”

Patricia M Jean

Shanice, 2016
Photo-transfer, acrylic on found wood
24″ x 29″
On change making:

“My voice is what I value most about myself and the Black womanhood I know and love. Navigating this world as Black women and femmes means always having to fight to use our voices. Systems of violence like misogynoir – the intersection of misogyny and Blackness – continue to strip us of our power, and so, it is revolutionary every time we speak up and speak back. I will always use my voice, and I will always fight to ensure that all Black women and femmes can use theirs regardless of what their revolution looks like. We will not be silenced because Black womanhood is divine. And within its divinity lives beauty and pain and resilience and joy and wisdom and love and fire. All of these elements are essential for our survival, and we are survivors; we have always been survivors. But surviving is not enough. It has never been enough. My life and my work centres Black womanhood because this world never will. I do not want us to have to survive in this sea of violence. I want us to thrive in a sea of peace. I want us to taste freedom. I want the world to unwrap its hands from around our necks so that we can breathe. So that we can rise”.

Shanice Nicole