Pocket Gallery Exhibition
The BC Black History Awareness Society in partnership with the Royal BC Museum presents Hope Meets Action: Echoes Through the Black Continuum, the story of Afro-diasporic “British Columbia” history, past, present and future. Black “British Columbian” history has long been whitewashed in the annals of colonial history. Against the backdrop of white-centring walls, this exhibit daylights the living and ongoing history of Black belonging, told in this manner by the Black community for the first time.
Written, told and designed by Black voices, this exhibition reclaims and retells the complicated history of stolen people on stolen land, and how the contributions of Black leaders echo across the centuries into the present.
Central to this narrative are the seldom-told stories of Black women such as Sylvia Stark, who was born an enslaved person in Missouri, taught herself to read by secretly listening to her master’s children’s lessons and eventually became a pillar of the Black pioneer community on Salt Spring Island. Her daughter Emma Stark became the first Black teacher on Vancouver Island.
The pocket gallery features audio recordings of Black British Columbians calling in from around the province to lend their voices to this history, and—with a focus on decolonization—it also features artwork by young Black artists speaking to the history of the Hogan’s Alley community in Vancouver, BC.