“What images come to your mind when you think about Africa?” asked Honma Amadi, the founder of Rêve Morel. Amadi specializes in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship at UTSC and is an international student from Nigeria. Two years ago, he developed the idea of a cross-cultural experience that showcased the African identity called Rêve Morel.
Rêve Morel is a traveling art exhibit that works with Canadian secondary and post-secondary schools to promote African studies through art exhibitions. “I want to emphasize the African experience, within the larger Black community, that is from a genuine and authentic place that showcases my roots,” said Amadi. The art exhibitions cover a variety of topics in African history from big moments like the impacts of colonialism to smaller topics like the traditions sewn into African fabrics.
The exhibits seek to showcase the core of Africa itself through history. To add to the meaningful conversations that members of the Black community have on identity, national contributions and addressing systemic racism, Amadi said, “I also wanted to share something refreshing and uplifting that mirrors our shared beauty and cultural significance.”
Today, Africa has 54 countries, each with a collection of unique art, history, and traditions. Rêve Morel offers a platform to share that art and history within educational institutions and provides a glimpse of the often invisible experience of the Black community. Art became the perfect form to reveal Africa’s deep histories as many items like fabrics are imbued with symbolism, motifs of the past, cultural experiences, proverbs, advice and more.
Due to province-wide lockdowns, Rêve Morel has shifted their plans for an in-person exhibit to a virtual experience. Taking advantage of the digital space, the first exhibit will look at the details and deep meanings of textiles and fabrics in “The Fabric is a Message” showing on February 6th, 2021. The live screening shares the backgrounds and stories behind a range of fabrics and textiles meaningful to African countries and traditions.
“We want to promote understanding and respect,” Amadi said. “And how do you understand a different person’s background if you don’t learn their experience?” Once pandemic restrictions allow for in-person exhibitions, Amadi hopes to share this experience through immersive galleries and collections. The in-person exhibitions are designed for travel, so it can move from university galleries and spaces like UTSC’s marketplace to high school gymnasiums or auditoriums and more. “The spaces that you drink your coffee and study in can be transformed into exhibits and experiences,” Amadi added. All students and faculty have free admission to exhibits making the experience highly accessible.
The name, Rêve Morel, translated from French, means ‘Black Man’s Dream’ and to Amadi the name signals that he’s on the right path in sharing the Black identity. Rêve Morel values showing the deep levels of creativity from local and international authentic African artists and are open to collaborating with other interested members of the Black community. Through art and education, Rêve Morel reveals the community’s beauty and complexity and promotes art and understanding.
· Follow Reve Morel on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reve_morel/
· Sign up for “The Fabric is a Message”: https://bit.ly/3au315P
-- article by Jenefer Savoeung