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Emerging futures

We’re taking a closer look at three emerging Black women artists that should be on your radar!

Image by Roya DelSol

Image courtesy of Roya DelSol

Happy Black Futures month! While we celebrate Black art and artists all year-round, this month we’re taking extra opportunities to share dynamic and thought-provoking stories from the world of Black art. To kick things off, we caught up with three emerging Black women artists who should be on your radar – media artist Roya DelSol, illustrator/animator blackpowerbarbie, and singer/songwriter a l l i e – to discuss their creative approach and unique vision for their practice.  

Take some time to learn more about each artist, check out some of their work, and read each of their insightful answers to the questions, “How would you describe your mission as an artist? What do you hope to add to the collective archive of Black art?”   

Roya DelSol

Roya DelSol describes herself as a Black media artist and cultural worker. Based in Toronto, she creates motion work ranging from music videos to experimental documentaries, aiming to centre and uplift the experiences of Black, queer, and marginalized peoples. Her earlier photographic work was focused on capturing Black femme intimacy, strength and joy in an attempt to visualize new, liberated worlds. She is currently expanding into the curatorial and immersive media realms, including curating the VR exhibition BLACK_BOX which will be showing with Trinity Square Video in July 2022. 

How would you describe your mission as an artist? What do you hope to add to the collective archive of Black art?

Roya DelSol: Initially, a lot of my work involved me documenting and sharing joyous moments of the interior lives of Black women, queer people, marginalized peoples; and create visions of worlds where we feel safe and liberated. As I've come to recognize that that world will only be achieved through disruption, I've become more interested in exploring depictions of anger and being unsettled; traditional (African descended) spiritual practices; and how the spiritual and the scientific can be integrated to inform each other and build that future. I'm still figuring out what I want my individual artistic contributions to the canon of Black art to be, but within my curatorial practice I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what kind of Black cultural production are considered art; how to ensure that work is archived; and how to make sure those archives are indexed, interconnected, accessible and free of gatekeeping. As part of that work, I'm continuing to try to understand what a freely expanding, liberated archive would look like.


From Toronto, but currently based in Brooklyn, New York, blackpowerbarbie (Amika Cooper) is a multi-faceted still and motion artist specializing in illustration and 2D animation. blackpowerbarbie believes in the transformative and reflective power of storytelling and approaches each body of work with sensitivity and reverence for her subjects. The backbone of blackpowerbarbie’s work is an innate curiosity in the human condition, supported by research in the work of artists across disciplines who have come before her. Whether it be music videos or live projections, her art is motivated by a desire to create compassionate and creative representations of Black femmes and other marginalized communities, and to contribute to healthier futures for all.

Image by Amika Cooper

Image courtesy of Amika Cooper

How would you describe your mission as an artist? What do you hope to add to the collective archive of Black art?

blackpowerbarbie: I would describe my mission as an artist to make work that is as honest and as true to myself as possible. I think we all deserve to have our stories told and for me the best way to do that is through introspection and focusing on what's true to me rather than having my ego respond to outside noise. I hope that as I grow, I can share my perspective and experiences as genuinely as possible so that I can add work that is truly resonant with people in my community.

a l l i e 

 Soulful, cosmic and introspective Toronto-based singer/songwriter a l l i e sees music and sound as predominant healing elements in her life. Her recently released album Tabula Rasa is an amalgamation of her collective experiences, two years’ worth of material, a trip across Europe and a cathartic homecoming to Jamaica. It materializes her desire to translate music’s healing properties through her work. The 11-track album was guided by an intuitive and organic process where she flexed her musical breadth, taking on the role of executive producer. Tapping into the musical sensibilities cultivated and nurtured throughout her childhood, a l l i e used this project to connect to her ancestral roots.

How would you describe your mission as an artist? What do you hope to add to the collective archive of Black art?

a l l i e: My mission as an artist is to explore what my truest expression looks like in this lifetime, and to facilitate healing for myself and others through sound and visuals. Music as a whole has been an incredibly healing practice for me, and it's a gift to be able to share that. I really hope to add fantastical and imaginative offerings to the collective archive of Black art. I'm always searching for depictions of Black fantasy worlds, and instances of unbridled Black imagination, so I hope to be able to add more of what I wish to see to the archive.

Check out the work of Roya DelSol, blackpowerbarbie and a l l i e at their respective links above. Sign up for the AGOinsider for more of the latest art news from the AGO and beyond.

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