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Mural on display in Toronto celebrates culture, tradition of Black Canadians

Toronto’s longest-running contemporary arts festival marks 25th anniversary
WATCH ABOVE: Kuumba is a series of events that run throughout the month of February featuring the work of visual artists, musicians, comedians, performing artists, filmmakers and other community leaders. Susan Hay profiles artist Krystal Ball.

Toronto’s longest-running contemporary arts festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary at Harbourfront Centre during Black History Month, honouring the heritage, culture, and traditions of Black Canadians.

Jamaican-born artist Krystal Ball’s latest masterpiece is on display at Kuumba25. Her work as a muralist and fine artist incorporates rich and striking use of colour, the human figure, nature motifs as well as geometric shapes and patterns.

“I use art as a tool to hold on to my heritage, and it has always been fascinating to see how it changes as I’ve grown into the person I am today,” said Ball.

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The festival explores the past through cultural expression and ritual, and re-envisions identities through art, culture, and education.

“We took a silver-lining approach representative of a jubilee,” said Kuumba curator Ashley McKenzie-Barnes.

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“Silver is a radiant, mirroring element that forces us to look into our own reflection and resurface a deep wisdom that can bring forth an understanding of our ancestry and history.”

Kuumba is a series of events that runs throughout the month of February featuring the work of musicians, comedians, performing artist, filmmakers, and visual artists.

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Ball’s mural, Black Diamond, took her eight days to create.

“It was inspired by a quote by Marcus Garvey saying, ‘A people without the knowledge of their past history origin and culture is like a tree without roots.’”

The mural explores the past through the use of patterns on a path to represent pre-colonialism, slavery, segregation and freedom, Ball explained.

“Black diamonds are made through a lot of pressure and through the rough and that correlation is important with black culture and what it means in black history,” she said.

Kuumba runs every day until Feb. 29, but Ball’s mural will be on display at Harbourfront Centre until June.