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Learn | 01.30.2023

Five Black Canadian Creatives To Watch In 2023

Ground-breaking ideas from the Great White North.

Over the years, Canada has been upping the game when it comes to the creative industries, a path that continues to blaze as the country expands its cannabis appreciation, perhaps aided by the plant itself.

It’s no secret that marijuana has been used for centuries to expand the mind and help us connect with our muses.

As the world over has set its eyes towards the multi-disciplinary creators raising the bar, we celebrate those making ripples worldwide. 

Here’s our pick of the crop.

Jorian Charlton

Through her warm and life-like analog photography, this Toronto-based photographer captures contemporary street culture through her personal experience, highlighting a dialogue between homeland and locality.

Charlton’s work discusses Jamaican-Canadian culture and the reimagination of identity post-diaspora, focusing on fashion, style, and sensuality as a means of expression. 

A graduate of Sheridan College, Charlton has been part of several group exhibitions and last year she presented three solo shows under the title

Out of Many, an expo that featured a collection of vintage 35 mm slides (given to her by her father) which created an intergenerational communication with her progenitor, an exploration of contemporary family album aesthetics. 

Will Selviz

Photo courtesy of Will Selviz

We have yet to drop acid while tripping in the Metaverse, but just by looking at the animations made by Will Selviz, we can imagine what it might feel like.

The Venezuelan-born, Kuwait-raised, moved to Canada in 2013 to study the Digital Futures program at OCAD University and since then has explored the realms of immersive media technologies, including 3-D animation, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and 360 video.

Through his company RENDRD Media, Selvitz has created imaginary universes for brands that include Nike, Revolt TV, Prada, NBA, and Universal Music.

Each of his projects presents strokes of his background in drawing, painting, and photography, as well as the ambience of Canada’s electronic music scene (his snaps have been featured in platforms such as DJ Mag, Mixmag, and Billboard).

Drew Henson

Photo courtesy of TOQi

Best described as a modern-day inventor, Drew Henson is an eclectic creator with worldwide experience, having worked as Chief Design Officer at Foream Network Technologies in Shenzhen, China, and Director of Products for Drift Innovation in London, England.

An aesthete with a fine eye for detail, Henson has reached praise-worthy milestones including working with NASA to set up cameras he designed at the International Space Station. 

The inventive globetrotter eventually made its way back to Canada, where he launched TOQi, a cannabis technology company making slick and functional vapes with intuitive, wireless fast-charging capabilities.

His engineering background has led to creating a smoking accouterment that’s both polished and sexy—something you would expect a design-savvy guru to carry in their pocket—which is also highly efficient when it comes to providing a smooth session experience.

Jillian Christmas

Photo by Kay Ho / Vancouver Sun

Hailing from the quiet streets of Markham, Ontario, Jillian Christmas’ poetry speaks loud and clear. Each of her verses explores Black queerness and femininity, topics she also approaches in her work as activist and writer.

Her book The Gospel of Breaking touches upon the topics of politics and lineage—from family to community—through exploring the emotional roots of her work (which implied spending time with her grandmother in Trinidad and Tobago). 

Through her work as Artistic Director of Verses Festival of Words, Christmas has spread the poetic medium through spoken word initiatives and publications including Huffington Post, Plenitude Magazine, and The Great Black North.

She’s developed joint programs with the Toronto Poetry Project, the University of British Columbia, and the Vancouver Opera, to name a few. Her slam poem Black Feminist is a powerful call to action, a voice of representation that speaks to the way black women are occasionally portrayed in feminist spaces.

She’s the winner of the 2021 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Canadian writers.

Lula Fukur

Lula Fukur, CEO and founder of Cori, a black-owned licensed cannabis boutique in Toronto, developed her passion for all that’s natural thanks to her upbringing in Eritrea. Having moved to Canada eight years ago, she explored the qualities of organic, non-GMO plants through cannabis, a plant that she highlights as one of the most healing in nature. 

Wellness is paramount at Cori (all products are plant-based), which is why Lula explored a wide range of products to select the best, aiming to provide healing to all types of consumers. Besides the multi-brand offering, the bright-yellow shop also offers events and workshops for everyone—from the experienced consumer to the canna-curious. Its objective is to create a bridge between each customer’s needs to what’s naturally good in cannabis. 

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