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There's a lot to celebrate in 2017: Canada is turning 150 and the CELAFI 1992 and 1997 Celebrating African Identity, Conference/Festival is marking the 25th year following its inception. The CELAFI'25 Archive launch commemorates and documents what was an explosive tour de force of creativity by Black Canadian Artists that filled a collective ten official days with music, dance, theatre, fashion, forums, visual art, literature, oral tradition, body adorning wearable art, film and video. CELAFI'25 website is a comprehensive archive and publicly accessible resource that permanently imprints on Canada's public record the cultural and artistic body of work contributed by Black Canadians as they neared the 21st century and built a platform upon which other artists could stand and thrive.

CELAFI'25 Online Archive is a multi-faceted collection of contemporary artifacts created by Black Artists. It currently contains an index of over 500 artists, 150 artist profiles, images, exhibition and performance catalogues, interviews, media coverage ... plus from both CELAFI'92 and CELAFI'97.  Soft launched February 1, 2017 during Black History Month, CELAFI'25 Online kicked off 150 days’ countdown to July 1, Canada Day and the official website launch.  The archive will expand and evolve as we continue to add to the collection over the course of the year-long celebration and beyond.


Art embodies the story of a people and their history. Celafi'25 archival mission: Preserve, validate, promote and make accessible, through digital footprint, the art of Canada's Black artist past, present, and visioning the future 



Building legacy; Igniting the FUTURE



art heals, art connects, art educates, art provokes, art matters


The site contains roughly 150 artifacts (if you include slides and photographs from OG archive binder), containing: 
500 participants (92 & 97)

  • 1000 images (artwork, photos, design icons and etc.)

  • 200 bios (this is not confirmed at all, I have to do a count)

  • 75 papers (curatorial and programming essays)

  • 30 venues across Toronto (see venue page)

To help viewers, users,  explore the site  and navigate the online archive

1. List of Artifacts contained on this site

2. Participants and Contributors index includes detail list of artists, academics, programmers, curators, etc.,

2. Artists Discipline, from visual arts to ....

4. CELAFI Venues & Sites  spanning the ...

5. CELAFI'25 Facebook (social media) releases daily samples from the artifacts and archive along with factoids

In the future we will be releasing curated content and a special Education focus. more details on that can be found

  • Educators

  • Special Events


CELAFI'25 is a digital archival repository dedicated to: collecting, preserving, and making available data that evidences the artistic contributions of Black Canadians to the Canadian mosaic and the historical and culturally significant impact of CELAFI.


BACKGROUND -Starting with the personal collection  and passion of Marva Ollivierre, subsequent collection of Orla Garriques, fueled by generous contribution of our patron saint Betty to enlist a small but a mighty team of Cherise Solomon and Erica Shaw (need a male) to support  get CELAFI'25 ONline off the ground.... Every reasonable effort has been made to trace ownership and obtain permission to reprint copyright material. We would be pleased to have any errors or omissions brought to our attention so that they may correct in subsequent updates.


In 1992, CAN:BAIA coordinated its first major undertaking, a six-day international, multi-disciplinary conference and festival, CELAFI '92,  hosted by Toronto's Harbourfront Centre for the Arts with the theme 'Celebrating African Identity: Strategies of Empowerment, Affirmation and Discovery'. The success of CELAFI '92, led five years later to CELAFI '97, a multi-venue, international event with the theme 'Celebrating African Identity: Entering the Millennium', which once more provided an extraordinary opportunity for African Canadian artists and their work to receive even greater national and international exposure.


Canadian Artists Network: Black Artists in Action (CAN:BAIA) was the Toronto based national, multi-disciplinary organization that envisioned and mounted CELAFI with the objective of manifesting the burning creativity of Black Canadian artists for the benefit of all. in 1990, CAN:BAIA was incorporated as a national non-profit organization with a board of directors and executive committee drawn from representatives across the country. Membership included professional artists, cultural workers, curators, art educators and art enthusiasts.  The membership driven organization launched a number of impactful initiatives, CELAFI'92 and CELAFI'97 stands out as their most far-reaching and career igniting platforms for Black Canadian Artists. In 1999 the organization ceased operation

Click HERE  formore on CAN:BAIA AND CELAFI Historical Sketch


This archive was made possible by the hard work of our contributes - thank you.

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