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It Was Dark There All The Time Book Launch

January 22, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Join us online on zoom on Saturday January 22, 2022 at 2pm for the launch of It Was Dark There All The Time, Sophia Burthen and the Legacy of Slavery in Canada. Author Andrew Hunter will be in conversation with host Talibah Howard. Presented in partnership with Goose Lane Editions, the Afro Canadian Caribbean Association and the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre.

Pre-registration is required for this free online event. Please pre-register HERE

Andrew Hunter is a freelance curator, artist, writer, and educator. Hunter was previously the Frederik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where he produced major exhibitions and publications including Every Now Then: Reframing Nationhood, In the Ward: Lawren Harris, Toronto & the Idea of North, and Colville.

Born in Hamilton and a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Hunter has held curatorial positions across Canada, including at the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. He has taught at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and the University of Waterloo and lectured on curatorial practice across Canada, the United States, England, China, and Croatia. He is a member of the advisory board for the Institute for the Study of Canadian Slavery at NSCAD.

Talibah Howard: Hailing originally from Jamaica, I received my Bachelor's degree in Virginia where I studied Psychology and Sociology. In these disciplines I studied Cognitive Neuroscience and Race-Based Policy in Sociology. For the University, I collaborated with the Caribbean Students Association to develop inclusive initiatives through an anti-racist lens and I continued to push these initiatives through my research.


“My parents were slaves in New York State. My master’s sons-in-law … came into the garden where my sister and I were playing among the currant bushes, tied their handkerchiefs over our mouths, carried us to a vessel, put us in the hold, and sailed up the river. I know not how far nor how long — it was dark there all the time.”

Sophia Burthen’s account of her arrival as an enslaved person into what is now Canada sometime in the late 18th century, was recorded by Benjamin Drew in 1855. In It Was Dark There All the Time, writer and curator Andrew Hunter builds on the testimony of Drew’s interview to piece together Burthen’s life, while reckoning with the legacy of whiteness and colonialism in the recording of her story. In so doing, Hunter demonstrates the role that the slave trade played in pre-Confederation Canada and its continuing impact on contemporary Canadian society.

Evocatively written with sharp, incisive observations and illustrated with archival images and contemporary works of art, It Was Dark There All the Time offers a necessary correction to the prevailing perception of Canada as a place unsullied by slavery and its legacy.

51 Stuart Street, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8L 1B5       905.522.3003       Public Hours: Click here