February is Canada’s Black History Month, and the Brantford arts community wants the public to get in the know.

Black History Month is an annual celebration of diversity to help recognize the racialized narrative of western history, and in turn unpack the frameworks upon which history is told by recognizing the achievements and roles people of African descent have played in shaping the Canadian experience.

Brantford’s Black History Month Committee, in partnership with local art groups, has arranged for a series of events to take place throughout the month. The 2014 celebration has been designed around the theme of “homecoming”.

Brantford’s Black History Month opening ceremony took place at Sydenham United Church on February 2 and the church will also be host to a film night, with the closing ceremony on March 1.

The 12th celebration put on, the events are held through teamwork between Glenhyrst Art Gallery, and the Brantford Arts Block, who will be showcasing Afro-Caribbean themed art throughout the month to help promote a discourse about the role of black artists in shaping Canada’s art scene.

Brantford artist Nicole Alexander, whose work is featured this month at Glenhyrst, will be hosting an event there to speak about her work on the 15. Alexander, who is a member of Caribbean Canadian Artists, The Association of African Canadian Artists and the Black Artist’s Collective, uses art to transcend racial stigmas. On her website, Alexander states, “coming from a place where I never thought that I was beautiful based on the colour of my skin, my paintings are a reminder to me and a lesson to my children that beauty comes in all shades and forms.”

This February marks the 19th official Canadian Black History Month. The event was officially recognized in Canada in 1995 after passing a motion established by Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament.