Black History Month takes on different dimension post-Mandela

Nelson Mandela burns his passport in 1960. (Photo: Wikimeida Commons, photographer unknown)


Nelson Mandela burns his passport in 1960. (Photo: Wikimeida Commons, photographer unknown)

Nelson Mandela burns his passport in 1960. (Photo: Wikimeida Commons, photographer unknown)

This year’s Black History celebrations acquire a particular poignancy with the recent death of Nelson Mandela. In homage to the great human rights leader, the Round Table on Black History Month will present A Long Walk to Freedom, an exhibit that encompasses history, visual arts and education.

The first part of the exhibit is at Montreal city hall until February 20. Journalist Steve Smith wrote and coordinated 11 exhibits that allow visitors to follow Mandela’s footsteps from the darkest days of apartheid to his liberation and rise to the presidency of South Africa. Works include painting, sculpture, puppetry and illustration.

The second part of the exhibit, from April 4 to May 4, will be at Place des Arts’ Espace Culturel Georges-Emile-Lapalme, where seven artists will offer their personal interpretations of what Mandela means to them. As well, Mandela’s story, as told through the 11 exhibits, will be reimagined as children’s stories by illustrator Maxime St-Juste and writer/storyteller Joujou Turenne, allowing parents of young children to perpetuate Mandela’s legacy.

Within the framework of Black History month, a panoply of activities will be featured, including workshops, conferences, music, dance and film, at several venues in the city.

Author, poet and historian specializing in Afro-Canadian history Afua Cooper will speak at the Museum of Fine Arts on February 15 at 8 pm. Her presentation will be accompanied by a performance by several artists from various disciplines. Info: 514-701-2774.

The Atwater Library will celebrate with two events within its Lunchtime series. February 20, author David Austin will speak about his new book Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex and Security in Sixties Montreal. February 27, musicians John Kerkhoven and Paul Serralheiro present The Blues in Jazz: a historical interpretation with harmonica and guitar. This musical lecture highlights the significance of the “blues”—music that originated in Afro-American communities in the 19th century—within the jazz repertoire.

Within its Mélodînes series February 20, Pro Musica presents 13-year-old classical pianist Daniel Clarke Bouchard, performing in Salle Claude-Léveillée at Place des Arts. This promising young musician recently released his first recording, Scènes d’enfants, featuring music by Mozart, Mendelssohn and Debussy, and duets with his mentor, jazz pianist Oliver Jones. 514-845-0532.

February 21, at the Centre-culturel Georges-Vanier in Little Burgundy, which several legendary jazz greats have called home, ONF documentaries on Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones will be screened by Projet Jazz Petite-Bourgogne. 514-931-2248.

February 22, Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi de Côte des Neiges presents a bilingual talent show at 7 pm at Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, 7141 Sherbrooke W. 514-342-5678 x 228.

The Underground Comedy Railroad Tour will stop by Théâtre Sainte-Catherine February 28, 8:30 pm. Billed as the first all-black comedy tour, it features standup comics Rodney Ramsey, Daniel Woodrow, Andrew Searles and Keesha Brownie. 514-284-3939.

Full program of the 23d edition of Black History Month:

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