Bidemi Oloyede BL|ARCHIVE

May 22–Jun 5,  2020

BL|ARCHIVE uses street photography and studio portraiture to reframe Black Canadian identity. 

Contesting the idea that Blackness is on the margin or displaced from a Canadian identity, BL|ARCHIVE cements the cultural identity of Blackness firmly within the urban grids of Toronto, “look(ing) back, at one another, naming what we see.” This format is one of constructing history through a personal lens. BL|ARCHIVE presents Black life through joy, intimacy, and collaborative empowerment. Using analogue film as strategic permanence, Oloyede shifts from documentarian to facilitator.

BL/ARCHIVE is supported by the Career Launcher program, an initiative from the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers at OCAD University.

Bidemi Oloyede was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria, and has called Toronto home since 2012. He graduated from OCAD University in 2019 with a BFA in photography. Also in 2019, he received the Verant Richard Award for his accomplishment in photography. Oloyede’s work focuses on the Black community he knows intimately, which he explores through portraiture and spontaneous images of people he encounters on the street. Using black-and-white, medium- and large-format photography, his work utilizes historical processes and archival documentation to consider how picture-making imparts meaning and importance to the subject. Oloyede’s work can be found in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives; and Capital One. He is represented by the Nicholas Metivier Gallery.