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“Guilty As Skin” ~ by Crystal Noir, Feb.1-26th, 2023

Exhibition Dates: Feb.1st – 26th, 2023

Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00am – 2:00pm


The concept for “Guilty As Skin” was born from my own feelings of fear being a Black woman, as we continue to witness harrowing displays of police violence towards BIPOC communities throughout Turtle Island (North America). This exhibition is an Afro-surreal exploration on the effects colonialism and post-colonialism has on the disproportionate and inflated rates of BIPOC individuals wrongly targeted, charged and incarcerated within the criminal justice system. Specifically, it focuses on how this dichotomy presents itself differently in both the system vs media in relation to gender, class and sexual identities – guiding the viewer through various scenarios of racial oppression.

 The usage of Afro-Surrealism was critical to the creation of this series as it is more than just an artistic expression, but a political one and a form of self-assertion. Each piece presents numerous double meanings which challenge the viewer to push past their first interaction with the work. From the deconstructed heads of each figure, custom metallic colors that illuminate in low-light conditions and impasto brushwork synchronized to the state of each subject’s psyche – every choice is as deliberate and intentional as the brutality in question.

 Having one’s identity dismantled, marginalized and regulated to non-human status demands both awareness and action. This series was created as a personal call-to-action to end the unjust policing of minority and disenfranchised bodies, and state-sanctioned acts of violence used as a tool to oppress BIPOC communities.


Crystal Noir is an emerging self-taught artist of Jamaican and Ukrainian descent from
Vancouver, B.C. – the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xwməθkwəyə̓ m
(Musqueam), Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and s ̱ əlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Her
work explores the intricate effects of ongoing colonial violence and the interplay
between mental health disparities within BIPOC communities. Seeking to dispel
stigmatization and redefine taboo cultural conversations, her work is often
autobiographical and is likewise concerned with the experiences of being multiracial,
and the unique encounters of exclusion, colorism, privilege and guilt that those of
multiethnic lineage face.
Inspired by the Afro-Surrealist movement, Crystal combines figurative portraiture with
conceptual scenes that draw both from historic and current experiences related to
racial inequality, discrimination and stereotypes. Seeking to make sense of the effects
of such aggressions to the psyche of the BIPOC community – she explores the human
figure in a way that is accessible to a broad audience by deconstructing the heads of
her subjects to include the usage of symbolic metaphors. Often filled with ambiguity
and hidden messages, her work invites audiences to find themselves within the context
and themes of the individual and collective work.
Crystal comes from the corporate fashion world with a professional background in
branding, and brings this knowledge into her daily artistic practice. Her own physical
and mental health battle guided her to painting as a form of self-care, and an outlet
where she could express herself freely without imposed corporate constraints. She
credits the majority of her healing journey to her artistic practice and now uses her
work to speak out against the stigma associated with mental health disorders while
pushing awareness and conversations around issues affecting the livelihood and
legacy of the BIPOC community.

3rd Sunday at the Gallery

Sunday Feb.19th, 2023, from 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Join us at the Gallery in Queen’s Park, on Sunday Feb.19th, 2023, from 1:00pm – 3:00pm, for an Artist Talk & Presentation. Exhibiting artist, Crystal Noir, will be hosting an artist talk and visual presentation where you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about her, her work and artistic process, as well as the meaning and significance behind why she creates. Presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

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