CIA:
LOST AND FOUND: (Finding) Hidden Beauty in the ‘Hood

1 March – 13 March 2011

“...I remember Marvin Gaye, used to sing to me.
He had me feeling like black was the thing to be.
And suddenly the ghetto didn't seem so tough,
and though we had it rough,
we always had enough...
‘Cause I think we can make it,
in fact, I'm sure.
And if you fall,
stand tall and come back for more!”
Keep Ya Head Up
–Tupac Amaru Shakur

The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) presents Lost and Found: (Finding) Hidden Beauty in the ‘Hood, a group exhibition guest curated by The M.A.D. Poet (aka Melissa A. Dean), from March 1st to March 13th, in the AGYU Special Projects Room. Produced with the support and mentorship of the Art Gallery of York University, The M.A.D. Poet’s first curatorial project features art works by Cade M. Davies, Che Kothari, Quentin “Vercetty” Lindsay, and SUN a.k.a The Real Sun.

Growing up in Jane and Finch had a formative impact on The Mad Poet’s artistic practice, strengthening her resolve to advocate on behalf of her community. Witnessing first-hand the devastating effects of youth incarceration and prophetic adult warnings that youth will not survive their eighteenth birthdays, The Mad Poet is committed to uplifting and showing youth their potential and their power as agents of social change.

Dedicated to consciousness-raising, The M.A.D. Poet wages a struggle for social justice through her dub poetry. With Lost and Found: (Finding) Hidden Beauty in the ‘Hood, the M.A.D. Poet brings attention to artists-activists who are representing the untold stories of strength and empowerment that form the foundations of their respective Toronto and international communities.

Intervening in the dominant media discourse that promotes demoralizing stereotypes about inner city neighbourhoods, the artists in Lost and Found are committed to cultivating opportunities and producing art work that foster community members’ self-worth by validating their strengths and celebrating their achievements. Challenging preconceived ideas about the ‘hood and its inhabitants, these artworks deconstruct the one dimensional portrayal of the inner city as ‘just a place of violence’, showing us the other side of the story, the underrepresented aspects of the ‘hood, the side that has been strategically withheld and effaced. Reclaiming the stories of strength that were lost, and championing the critical legacy of community builders, these artists engage in the community-affirming act of finding pride and envisioning a future of emancipatory possibility.

The Art Gallery of York University would like to thank Jane and Finch at York for their generous support for this project.