Staring down Brampton’s traffic jam

By Stephen Weir

Image of the Black male subject through the language of portraiture

Maybe it is the man’s stare that is slowing traffic in downtown Brampton. No speeders this summer on Main St as rush hour motorist lay-off the gas pedal to take in three huge photos hanging from the roadside wall of the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA).

The two-story black and white photographs are of three young Black men who are looking down at the always busy street below. Photographer Bidemi Olovede calls the installation I Am Hu(E) Man!

Oloyede is a well known Nigerian-born, Toronto-based photographer. He explains that he is rethinking through his large format camera “the image of the Black male subject through the language of portraiture”.

It is almost impossible to avoid the eyes of the three pictured men who stare at the Camera. The artist is, according to PAMA’s curator Sharona Adamowicz-Clements, through his models’ attire and pose questioning “what may be gleaned about the cultural identity, lived reality and character of the individuals whom the viewer must come to face.”

This exhibition has been developed by PAMA in partnership with the Contact Photography Festival.