New Photography Exhibition At OMAH


The Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH) has launched a new exhibition, entitled Backra Bluid, featuring the work of Brooklyn, New York based photographer, Stacey Tyrell.  A special reception will be held on Wednesday, June 5, from 4-7:30pm, which will include a moderated talk about representations of identity in the visual arts.

Stacey Tyrell (b.1978) is a photo-based conceptual artist. She was born and raised in Toronto, Canada to parents of Nevisian heritage. She attended OCAD University where she majored in Photography. Her work explores the interplay of race, heritage, immigration, and identity as it pertains to the Caribbean Diaspora.

For the series Backra Bluid,Stacey Tyrell started experimenting with herself as the model.  The title of this series draws from words of both West Indian and Scottish origins. “Backra” is an archaic Caribbean slang of West African origin meaning white master or white person, and “Bluid” is the Scottish word for the blood of men or animals as well as kin. Stacey’s ancestors hail from the West Indies, which was colonised  by Europeans after Christopther Columbus arrived in 1492.  These Europeans brought African slaves to work alongside enslaved local people to work on the sugar plantations during the Sugar Revolution after 1625. In acknowledging her Scottish, English and Irish ancestors, Stacey is directly addressing slavery and its impact on her family.

Fourteen large-scale photographs are Stacey’s attempt to interpret and explore distant relatives from both her past and present.  The images are also a reflection on her own perceptions and preconceptions of “Whiteness” in particular as it relates to white Anglo-Saxon people. She feels there is a dualism that is inherent in the constructs of “Whiteness” and “Blackness” in Western societies.

OMAH are thrilled to present this exhibition to the OMAH community, in hopes that it will encourage a conversation about our own stories; who we are, where we came from and where we hope to end up.

On Wednesday, June 5, at 5pm, Stacey will join via zoom from her Brooklyn studio to share her thoughts on representation of identities within the visual arts. At OMAH, she will be joined by Triti Shah, a grade 10 student and digital artist from Orillia Secondary School and Allie Bradford, Culture Coordinator with the City of Orillia who will moderate the discussion.

OMAH is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm.


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