Vancouver Independent
Archives Week 2018/19


Fri. 02.11.18 / 7 pm Touch Change

A conversation between Syrus Marcus Ware and !Kona
grunt gallery

In conjunction with Syrus Marcus Ware's exhibition 2068: Touch Change, Recollective presented a discussion between the artist and Vancouver-based activist and writer !Kona.

Ware's exhibition took the shape of an archive fifty years in the future, looking back at the present day. In it, the artist points to a historical record of black activism and presence here on the West Coast via a series of large-scale graphite portraits and documents, gleaned from his ongoing research into existing and historical BIPOC communities. His work also carries a speculative premise: that activists of different generations and geographies might meet for the first time in the hypothetical fonds of the archive. Syrus and local artist and activist !Kona took the show as a jumping off point for a discussion around social justice, networks of relation, speculative fiction and the artist-initiated archive.


grunt gallery
116-350 E. 2nd Ave


Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University and The Gladstone Hotel. Syrus is the inaugural Daniel’s Spectrum Artist-in-Residence (2016/17) and a core-team member of Black Lives Matter-Toronto. Syrus is also part of Blackness Yes!/Blockorama. He is working on a PhD at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies.

!Kona is a Vancouver-based artist, writer and activist. Her creative and social justice-oriented work has spanned arts/cultural, queer, feminist and Black communities for over 20 years.

Cicely Belle Blain is a diversity and inclusion consultant, activist and writer; they are one of Vancouver Magazine’s fifty most influential people of 2018, an award-winning co-founder of Black Lives Matter-Vancouver and a member of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations. Their work is informed by their professional and academic background at the University of British Columbia and their lived experience as a Black, queer artist, a community builder, an intersectional feminist and a Black liberation activist. Also, Cicely Belle loves dinosaurs, red wine, oil pastels and flash fiction.

Additional support for this event was generously provided by


Cicely Belle Blain

View Response

Response by Cicely Belle Blain, February 2019

The family gathers for a selfie after a day of celebration. They value the ability to choose family; it's the combined struggle that connects us.