Haitian-Canadian artist, illustrator, and painter Wendy Alexina Vancol delves into profound explorations of heritage, diaspora, memory, and identity through her work. Defying stereotypical depictions of black bodies in predominantly white spaces, she highlights themes of marginalization, social pressure and prejudice allowing these bodies to claim space in unconventional and empowering ways.
Vancol holds a BFA from Concordia University. She concluded her first solo exhibition at the Maison de la culture de NDG in Montreal (2022-2023), one of whose exhibited works has been acquired by the Collection municipale d'œuvres d'art de la ville de Montréal (2023). Currently, Vancol is immersed in a creation and research residency at the Jano Lapin Gallery.
At the core of my artistic journey lies a profound connection to the spaces I inhabit daily—an intimate exploration that extends from the patterned floor demarcations of my parents' kitchen to the intricate frills adorning my living room pillows. Every familiar element in my surroundings becomes a wellspring for my art, a rich tapestry of inspiration that fuels my creative process.
Influenced by the dynamic storytelling found in sequential art, I weave these observations into a narrative that incorporates fragments of my own life, expanding them into a compelling storyline. As a black woman who has grappled with the feeling of taking up too much space, both physically and socially, I aspire to carve out a narrative space for individuals who believe their life stories lack significance due to their seemingly ordinary nature.
My goal is to extract the beauty from seemingly "ordinary" days and weeks, using my works to convey that every moment possesses inherent beauty—a matter of perspective that can render any story inspiring. I aim to create a counter-narrative by showcasing the vibrancy of everyday life, challenging the conventional portrayal of black characters primarily in the context of struggle.
Drawing inspiration from the emblematic style of graphic novels, I have gradually cultivated a distinctive artistic identity. Through a blend of different mediums, I have forged a surreal style that brings light to the colorful and exciting facets of life. My art aims to transcend archetypes and reveal the authentic narratives of individuals, fostering a celebration of diversity and resilience that extends far beyond the limited scope often associated with black characters.
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