Future Forwards – Khadijah Morley

Khadijah Morley In the Wake 2022.007.01

Future Forwards looks toward emerging and prominent Black artists in the Edmonton, Montréal, and Toronto communities to showcase diverse perspectives and exemplary skill. Read on below to learn about Khadijah Morley, one of 4 artists featured in the project!

Future Forwards artist3 Khadija Morley

Khadijah Morley (she/her) is a Tkaronto (Toronto) based artist and educator with a BFA in Drawing and Painting, and minor in Printmaking from OCAD University. Through the process of etching and relief printing, Khadijah explores the complexities of Black womanhood through an autobiographical lens. Her work has been featured on CBC arts and she is currently a recipient of the Kala Fellowship at the Kala Arts Institute in Berkeley, California.

Portrait photo credit: Andrea Guerrero.

Special thanks to Cass Rudolph and Ariana Ozga-Reinecke for video production.

A silhouetted figure emerges from the depths of stormy waters. Amidst crashing waves, they remain still. Their gaze is unwavering, disposition unclear…

Sharing the title of Christina Sharpe’s book “In the Wake” (2022) this work converses with Sharpe’s theories regarding Black contemporary life in the diaspora.

Particularly, I have drawn on Sharpe’s metaphorical use of ‘wake’ and ‘weather’. Sharpe expands their definitions to illustrate the afterlives/reverberations of the transatlantic slave trade. Blackness thus exists within the ‘wake’ of “slavery’s as yet unresolved unfolding”, which is to “occupy and to be occupied by [its] continuous and changing present” (13–14). The ‘weather’ is not a singular event, rather it is all encompassing climate. It is “the totality of our environments; the weather is the total climate; and that climate is antiblack.” (104)

Like Sharpe, I have no interest in providing answers. Instead, I am attempting to explore a visual language to express a past that is continuously present and roils the everyday of Black lives.

This programming is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.