ObituaryWARC sadly announces the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Ayanna Black. Ayanna, poet, author, anthologist, and literary curator, was born in Jamaica in 1939. She traveled to Englandin 1957, where she trained as a psychiatric nurse. In 1964, she immigrated to Canada and began her writingcareer, while continuing to work as a health care professional. Ayanna figured prominently in the development of contemporary African Canadian culture. She led the way, co-founding Tiger Lily, a literary magazine devoted to women of colour. She was a founding member of Canadian Artists Network: Black Arts in Action, (CAN:BAIA), which produced Celafi, a ground-breaking Toronto festival. As chair of the programming committee of Toronto Arts Against Apartheid (1987), she metwith renowned entertainer Harry Belafonte, and enlisted his help to bring Bishop Tutu to Toronto, a visit thatmarked a pivotal point in Canada's stand against apartheid. In 1997, she was instrumental in organizing an historic visit by civil rights activist Rosa Parks for the exhibition, Emerging into Spirit, sponsored by Celafi Festival and presented at the ROM. Ayanna shared her compassion with those struggling to create new cultural opportunities and WARC was honoured to be one of the organizations that she offered her leadership to. She served as President ofWARC, guiding the development of WARC's exhibition gallery. She coordinated successful projects, such as Mapping Cultural Time Zones, a Berlin / Toronto exchange, presented jointly by WARC and Goethe Institut, and brought her generous spirit, as a mentor, to Youth Leaders Through The Arts, a community arts project created by WARC for .at risk' youth. Ayanna Black's contributions have enriched and inspired many to dream bigger, better. Her legacy will resonate for generations to come. Linda Abrahams Co Director, WARC
Peacefully, on July 21, 2009, at her residence after a long illness, during which she was lovingly cared for byher partner Eckehard. She will be sadly missed by relatives and her friends in the art and medicalcommunities. A Celebration of Ayanna's Life will be held on Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 11 a.m. in thechapel of Cardinal Funeral Homes, 366 Bathurst St. (near Dundas). Following the celebration, a receptionwill take place at WARC Gallery, 401 Richmond St. West, Suite#122. Cremation has taken place. Memorial donations may be made to Women's Art Resource Centre (www.warc.net). WARC's Charitable Registration No. 131083271 RR 0001"
August 08, 2009