Kuumba25 Festival

Harbourfront Centre

Curated by Ashley McKenzie-Barnes
Presented by TD Ready Commitment


Harbourfront marks 25 years of Toronto’s longest running Black History Month festival featuring a powerful line-up of contemporary thought leaders. Connecting with voices beyond our borders that include an exclusive Canadian debut public art installation of Colin Kaeperknick’s Know Your Rights Camp, a sneaker exhibition from design legend, D’Wayne Edwards with free PENSOLE Academy workshops in partnership with YellowBrick and Toronto Life Magazine, and a Canadian stage debut performance Jon Boogz and Lil Buck of M.A.I (Movement Art Is). A night of dance with M.A.I also featured a diverse night of Canadian dance acts like Travis Knights with Anandam Dancetheatre, Jade Hip-Hop Dance Academy, Dwayne Morgan and more!⁣


Free month-long exhibitions showcased artists William Ukoh (Willyverse), Ekow Nimako, Yung Yemi  and Jamaican artist Krystal Ball. Theatre works in development by Troy Crossfield and Sheronna Osbourne of Crossfieldhouse Productions and returning programming from Trey Anthony.


Kicked off a free weekly safe space dedicated to self-care practices, fitness and brave dialogue. Wednesday Wellness, powered lululemon presented dedicated practitioners like Coach Raia Carey, Karlyn Percil, Perez Tieku, TOPBOY and more.⁣ ⁣


Opening night offered a free showcase headlining 2019 Polaris Prize Winner, Haviah Mighty, alongside Just John and was hosted by Canadian drag phenomenon, Tynomi Banks. Performances were co-curated with diversity-focused agency, Blue Crane Agency.






Curatorial Statement:
“As Kuumba marks its 25th anniversary, a silver lining approach is explored as we consider what is beneficial in celebrating this commemorative year.


Representative of a jubilee, silver itself is a radiant, mirroring element that forces us to look into our own reflection and resurface a very deep wisdom that can bring forth an understanding of our ancestry and history. The use of silver is traditional in its meaning but also modern, resistant and vibrant in its form.


The same composition is emulated throughout Kuumba25, as we examine the past through cultural expression, ritual and memorabilia, while re-envisioning our identities through art, culture and education.”

—Ashley McKenzie-Barnes


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