Storytelling seeks to shift the mediation of contemporary art from more conventional modes of interpreting and informing to narrating and embodying through weekly walks and conversations. Rapper and spoken-word poet Borelson offers a performative response to works by Jae Jarrell and Caecilia Tripp installed at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU).
Image Credit: Storytelling: Borelson, 2019. Photo: Yuula Benivolski.
Borelson is a multidisciplinary artist and creative director based in Toronto. After a multilingual upbringing in central Africa (Gabon, Congo), he went on to spend some years in France, following some disruptive family events, before relocating to Canada by himself. His unique music is mostly hip-hop and afrofusion infused, mixed with other music influences such as jazz, classical music, and gospel. After a mixtape (2014) and an EP (2016), Borelson released his debut LP As Far As Eye Can See (2020) along with a docuseries about the success stories of immigrants and first-generation Canadians – both projects inspired by the quote, “I didn’t come this far to only come this far” and the power of visualization. Borelson’s creations revolve around the concept of afrofuturism and the Ubuntu philosophy, aiming to give more drive, hope, and a sense of collective freedom through mutual respect and balance. As an explorer and bridge builder between communities across the universe, Borelson has performed in Paris, London, Miami, Austin (SXSW 2018), Ghana (Year of Return), as well as Montreal and Toronto (Afrofest, Nuit Blanche, Toronto Biennial of Art, RBC Music virtual showcases, and Fashion Art Toronto, among others). His shows—whether solo or with a live band—always bring high vibrational energy and are worth attending.