Stanley February made justice the spearhead in his artistic practice. By working to ensure that diverse artists have the insight they are entitled to in the Quebec art world, the Haitian-born artist makes things happen. performance installation Museum of Contemporary Art / Hidden Sectionpresented from June 15 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), is a case in point.
Posted at 11:00 a.m.
It’s been nearly six years since Stanley February based his artistic faith on the equality that must be achieved between museums and artists in Quebec. We remember his remarkable activism, in 2019, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal (MAC) when, with about fifty diverse artists and students, he disrupted the course of things, by the occurrence of spring, while showing that it aimed to claim greater visibility in museums and art centers .
Since then, he has continued to score points, forcing the art world to adopt an attitude more in line with the realities of Quebec society. In an emblematic act that mimics the art establishment, he has created a Museum of Visual Arts/Invisible Department, MAADI, of which he is “general manager and principal curator”. He says a museum houses dozens of works he has personally purchased in recent years from fellow artists as diverse, especially black, that are often overlooked.
Because of the tradition of diversity that it developed fifteen years ago, the MMFA has made spaces for MAADI in order to highlight those artists who have become “invisible”. There are those who have supported Stanley February since the beginning of his quest for justice, notably May Van Dam, Eliza Olkinitskaya, Maria Izkora, Livia Daza Paris, Clovis Alexandre Desfario and Esther Calixte Pia.
But also artists who present interesting and little-known works. Like Montserrat Duran Muntadas, which exploits textiles and glass and which have been of little vision, with the exception of La Guilde, whose work has been known for years. Or Claudia Bernal, who has an interdisciplinary practice of more than 30 years, and in which MAADI displays an installation that evokes the traces of colonialism and capitalism in Mexico.
The works evoke the artists’ identity, their roots, their vibrations and that state of being that brings them to life and that often really shields us from awe. Curators Laura Delfino and Iris Amizlev impressively prepared the show in a completely original way. With, in particular, the extraordinary density of works for a museum. “It’s a revolution,” says Iris Amizlev. We’ve never seen anything like this. And the way Stanley created this gallery, to share his strength with 27 artists, is a community gesture, poignant and extraordinary. »
Stanley February wonders why visual arts institutions have finally taken so many years to open the door to artists from minority sections of society, whether women, foreign or indigenous people. “I hope from now on we can put in place structures for the real transformation,” he said. No need to imitate the institution by colonizing it with my country. The encounter is not to accept this exposure. The meeting is the beginning of a dialogue. These are obligations. We are in a phase and institutions will have to go further. »
Stanley February will be like president From MAADI during performances taking place in June and July, on Fridays and Saturdays, from 2pm to 5pm. Plus, on Wednesday, June 15 at 5:30 p.m., in the museum’s Maxwell-Cummings Room, he’ll talk about his art career during a conference with independent curator Philippa Estevez and Iris Amizlev. In addition, to allow for an informative visit to this exhibition, the Museum will offer reference guides on Thursdays and Sundays, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
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