Canadian Black Caucus shares vision for city

Mayor John Tory and artist Camille Lauren discuss issues facing Toronto. Gerald V. Paul photo. By Gerald V. Paul
Mayor John Tory and artist Camille Lauren discuss issues facing Toronto. Gerald V. Paul photo.
By Gerald V. Paul

As Mayor John Tory shared his vision of a City that Works and Cares with the Canadian Black Caucus, artist and entrepreneur Camille Lauren told The Camera, “Racialized artists face very real setbacks in getting a toe-hold in this arena.
“It’s often the opportunity that is the difference between who makes it and who doesn’t. The youth need to find a way. Please tell me this will change; I need a future that actually works for us all.”
Lauren agreed with Tory’s message on making Toronto more livable, affordable and functional, “a variation on a theme, including ideas on his state of the city address. Toronto is proud of its diversity.
“As, a city they have to understand where the world is going, to embrace that change and then work to mitigate the impact on our existing economy.”
Netherlands Antilles-born of Jamaican parents, Lauren was part of a packed room at City Hall recently at a meeting that brought community builders and leaders together with an eye on building strong partnerships.
Lauren says she is consumed with African and Caribbean history and identity and possesses profound compassion for the marginalized. “I see art as a social commentary for people to think about. It’s something that can inspire conversation for years.
“The sky holds a lot of promise for me, always did. I used to look up when I walked home and imagined my future in the clouds. Naming my business Art of Ciel was a way of capturing that expansive potential.”
Lauren said that Gwyn Chapman, the organizer of the event, asked her to present one of her paintings, The Blended Colours of Canada. “The painting symbolizes the cultural mosaic that is Canada.
“In the mayor’s opening speech, he touched on the unique diversity that we experience in this remarkable city of of Toronto,” said Lauren, an Art Gallery of Mississauga and Brampton Arts Council awardee.
The Canadian Urban Institute Youth Civic Leadership awardee noted that “In the spirit of the Canadian Black Caucus event, it seemed fitting to create a piece that showed that unity that can be achieved when we come together with our varying strengths and perspectives.”
Lauren said her work is “about closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship. I want to live in a world where girls aren’t limited to only being seen for their looks. I want to live in a world where being a model or reality TV star isn’t the only way for an ethnic woman to gain exposure for herself.”
Lauren concurred with Tory that Toronto is the best place to live as we embrace and respect each other, despite facing various challenges including race and skin colour.