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Victoria’s new artist-in-residence looks to share agency with dance and visual works

Kemi Craig looks to bring art to where people are every day
Kemi Craig is Victoria’s newest artist-in-residence. (Courtesy City of Victoria)

Her dancing, film and video works and more have spanned stages and galleries both local and across Canada, helping to make it an easy choice to name Kemi Craig as Victoria’s artist-in-residence.

The artist-in-residence program aims to keep art in mind by proving the opportunity for a professional creator to work collaboratively with city staff and the community.

Craig’s term will run until November 2024 and will see her develop creative works and projects that augment a couple of capital projects every year.

Through her lived experience as a woman of African descent, her art utilizes dance, and analogue and digital visual technologies to centre experiences for people with racialized and gendered bodies. Craig said she’s inspired by Black history and Afrofuturism, dance that expresses what we do every day, visual histories and pop cultural production.

“I am excited about the process of making art and working collaboratively to create performances that share agency with other artists, as well as create opportunities for audiences to participate by becoming activators and storytellers,” Craig said in a news release. “The opportunity to serve as the artist in residence for the City of Victoria will assist me in bringing art to public spaces where people are every day.”

After making a shortlist, the graduate of Emily Carr University’s fine arts masters program was chosen unanimously by a panel consisting of the city’s art in public places committee and local arts professionals.

Her goal during the next two years is to create multi-sensory, site-specific installations and performances with community and audience engagement. The city said that fits right into its aim of providing opportunities for interpreting and sharing Victoria’s local history, as well as highlighting innovative artistic experiences that bridge technology and creative practice.

Craig’s resume also includes being an educator at several Greater Vicotria art organizations, mentoring BIPOC youth, supporting groups such as Coup de Dees and Melanin Magic, being Dance Victoria’s artist-in-residence and performing in a documentary on local Black dancers.

An opportunity to meet Craig and ask her questions will take place at the City Hall Antechamber at 6 p.m. on Nov. 22.

READ: Former Oak Bay restaurant owner cooks up artistic endeavours

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About the Author: Greater Victoria News Staff

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