We’re Here Too is a small collective of Black artists taking on a big mission: showcasing the diversity of Black experiences in Lethbridge and providing opportunities to emerging Black photographers to showcase their work. The collective is currently in the process of putting together a photo zine composed of photos from Black photographers from Lethbridge and across Alberta.
Bariyaa Ipaa is a U of L student, multimedia artist and member of the We’re Here Too collective. Ipaa and his friends have wanted to do something like this for a long time, recognizing a need for grassroots spaces and publications for Black artists to showcase their work.
“In the art world, minority groups often don’t get a lot of opportunities to showcase their work in formal settings.” Ipaa told The Meliorist. We’re Here Too’s zine was designed in part to provide Black artists with experience navigating the often-complex art world.
Ipaa went on to say that this zine will fill a gap that he’s noticed in Canada. He said that often when Black history is taught in Canada, it’s the history of the United States, and more contemporary Black history is ignored. With the small amount that is taught, Ipaa said, it often speaks to Black suffering, oppression and trauma, and rarely celebration or joy. This photo zine, Ipaa hopes, will complicate that understanding with a focus on celebration.
The zine will launch at Analog Books (622 6 St S) on February 27th. Copies will be $20 each.
The collective is accepting submissions for the zine from Black photographers and writers until February 3rd. Contributors will be provided with a $100 honorarium as compensation. The collective has put together a Google Form for submissions of photography and writing. More details for how to submit as well as other updates can be found on their Instagram page, @were_here_too.
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In Blackfoot language, a Black person from Lethbridge is translated as: Siko’ohkotók siksapiikoan. A place of black rock (coal), and the human being.