Anthony Gebrehiwot asked Imani Dominique to co-curate "It Takes A Village". This beautiful collection of photos paid homage to the community behind RISE Edutainment. The exhibition opening was a community-filled and inspiring space.
"It Takes A Village" by Anthony Gebrehiwot is a series of intimate portraits of members of the Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (RISE) community, taken 11 years after its founding. A follow-up to his previous exhibition documenting RISE called "Communities of Love" (Art Gallery of York University, 2018), his history as the organization's resident photographer has allowed him to witness the unguarded creative evolution of many poets, musicians, and artists. "It Takes a Village" honors the legacy of RISE by revisiting its members a decade later, carefully recording the lasting relationships that were formed in the organization's earliest days. Gebrehiwot's own involvement with RISE tracks back to its first events ever, and his position both as archivist and artist has been central to his artistic development. These portraits celebrate the enduring value of those first events on not just him, but 30+ other members who have become innovators in their respective fields. The pride of RISE can be seen in these portraits not only through the success of its members but in the resilience of its community bonds. “It Takes A Village" commits these bonds to memory, revealing the possibilities that unfold when Black artists are given the space, safety, and love they need.
The well-known proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" originated from an African proverb, conveying that it takes many people, or "the village" to provide a child with the environment needed to develop and flourish, and eventually actualize their hopes and dreams. The members of RISE came together from its earliest days to create this environment for the organization, and it is thanks to their contribution and many others that the community is still going strong today.
Co-Curated by Imani Dominique and Anthony Gebrehiwot
Exhibition text written by: Christina Dela Cruz and Randell Adjei
Special thanks to RISE EDT, The Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Daniel’s Spectrum for making this possible.