I Am Still Here Intro

Union Presents


Black Joy is Resistance

– Sponsored by TD

Curated with MakeRoom and featuring
special guest artist Gloria C. Swain

Experience the exhibit in
the West Wing and Oak Room

The exhibit theme of “Black Joy is Resistance” came to life during many honest conversations between Union, Gloria Swain and MakeRoom Inc. MakeRoom Inc. was looking to create space for joy during Black History Month. In discussing how joy can relate to resistance, Gloria Swain explained “Black Joy is Resistance” when she spoke about the racism she has experienced and how she chose joy and love as an act of resistance. This led to an open call to investigate this question and subsequently six artists were selected.

In addition to Swain, other artists featured include Jibola Fagbamiye, Elicser Elliott, Rae Clair, Danyal Barton, Adetona Omokanye and Frantz Brent-Harris.These works incorporate a mix of mediums ranging from photography, digital artwork, AI, and traditional painting. The exhibit spans recollections of black traditions and histories, testaments of black presence and inspired imaginations of black futures.

The exhibition aims to explore what joy as an act of resistance means, while subverting the common associations of Black History and identity with sadness and mourning. Black Joy is Resistance celebrates the Black voices that too often have been forced to fit into boxes to appease the gazes of others.