A Legacy Unfolding


September 16, 2023, to January 7, 2024

Organized by the Varley Art Gallery of Markham
Featuring the work of Shantel Miller
Curated by Anik Glaude

About the exhibition

In this solo exhibition, Shantel Miller tackles the nuanced relationship between faith, spirituality, and the church, and the ways in which these are expressed within her Jamaican-Canadian community. On view is a new series of figurative paintings and photographs showcasing the people and traditions that make up the Legacy Christian Community Worship Centre in Markham.

The artist captures intimate and quiet moments of reflection and prayer, as well as active manifestations of faith. As in previous works, Miller centres the Black body, examining how it moves through space and exists within it. The artist describes photography as a tool to document, while painting is a means of encountering and expressing what she sees. The combination of both mediums allows Miller to simultaneously observe and reflect on what happens around her.

About the artist

Shantel Miller is a Jamaican-Canadian visual artist living in Markham. She received an MFA in Painting at Boston University and a BFA in Drawing and Painting from the Ontario College of Art and Design. In 2021, she received the Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship in Painting and Sculpture, the Elizabeth Greenshield Award, the Esther B. and Albert S. Kahn Career Entry Fund and is currently the Ujima Boston Project Artist Fellow for 2022-2024.

Miller’s figurative paintings represent lived and imagined experiences that often situate the body in moments of vulnerability and introspection. As part of her creative process, she uses body language symbolically to suggest relationships of tension and intimacy, often depicting interior spaces with isolated moments of realism, alternating perspectives, and high-contrast color relationships. Working in this way, Miller negotiates notions of a public and private self and explores ideas relevant to spirituality and existentialism in ordinary depictions of Black life.

Associated Programs

Opening Reception
When We All Get Together
Friday, September 29, 2023 | 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. | Free, Registration not required.

It’s a fête at the Varley Art Gallery. Meet with exhibiting artists, enjoy food and music, and get hands-on with a family-friendly studio activity at our fall exhibition opening reception.

Lunch and Learn with Shantel Miller
Wednesday, October 18, 2023 | 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. | Free. Registration required.

Shantel Miller explores aspects of faith, narrative, and the role her community plays in her evolving artistic process.

These virtual monthly artist talks provide our community members with the opportunity to learn about current and future exhibitions, as well as hear about ongoing curatorial research happening at the gallery. This program also supports emerging and established artists by providing them with a forum in which to present their work. We would like to thank the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham for their ongoing support of our Lunch and Learn speaker series.

Artist Workshop with Shantel Miller
Saturday, November 25, 2023 | 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. | Free, Registration required.

Through color, and collage explore aspects of perceiving our collective experiences with artist Shantel Miller. This two-hour workshop delves into meaning-making, and various symbolism reflected in A Legacy Unfolding.

Image credit: Shantel Miller, Praying for a Lost and Broken Generation, 2023, oil on canvas, 60.9 cm x 76.2 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

A series of photographs and paintings.
A selection of works in the exhibition A Legacy Unfolding. Two paintings and two photographs on an orange wall.
An installation view of the exhibition A Legacy Unfolding
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