Category Storytelling

In Conversation With Segun Caezar

Art is a powerful tool of expression. The hopes we have in the past can shape our futures. The ability to create something new or better depends on our ability to imagine it. These ideas and the prompt of what it means to dream while Black are at the core of Union Station’s newest exhibit, Black Dreams and Aspirations, sponsored by TD, co-curated in partnership with MakeRoom Inc.

We were delighted to speak with Segun Caezar, one of the artists for the exhibit, about what Black Dreams and Aspirations means to him. His featured artwork, entitled St. Coltrane, serves as a powerful symbol of resilience and achievement within the context of Black history. By showcasing Coltrane’s accomplishments, Caezar’s painting becomes a source of pride and motivation, encouraging black individuals to pursue their passions, break barriers, and leave a legacy in their respective fields.

What was the inspiration behind your art showcased in the Black Dreams and Aspirations exhibit?

As a Black person, I always look to inspire the Black community with our history. When I wanted to start my collection – that St. Coltrane was in – I wanted to look back to our history as a Black community and look at Black people that are not as popular, yet still accomplished so much. Then I started reading about Saint Coltrane, a jazz musician in the mid 1900’s, who was made a saint when he died. What caught my attention was that a Black man during that time could do something so spectacular. I thought if I painted it in my own way, I could share St. Coltrane’s story.

What message or emotion do you hope viewers take away from experiencing your artwork?

I want everybody to know that you can be whatever you want to be. Your dreams are valid, your aspirations are valid. It blows my mind that Coltrane was able to become a saint that people look up to. I just want people to know that they can be whatever they want to be.

What inspired you to become an artist and how does your identity influence your work?

I don’t think I would have done anything else – I honestly can’t think of anything. I really just want to paint. I first started painting portraits, but I felt this was not enough. I need my work to hold more meaning. Then I moved from Nigeria to Canada, which made me realize there are so many untold stories. I was talking to someone who was asking if there are antelopes running around the streets in Africa – this made me feel the need to let people know what’s really going on in Africa.

I’m inspired by the Canadian people, and I’m inspired by my own people, and I want to tell the story of what’s going on at home. I hope to inspire the next generation by sharing stories through my artwork.

Thank you, Segun, for taking the time to speak with us about your artwork showcased in the Black Dreams and Aspirations exhibit. You can find Segun’s art in the West Wing of Union Station from now until May. Stop by today to experience it yourself.

Click here for more information about Union’s Black History Month exhibit.