Who Am I?

Collector explores black identity through photographs
October 1, 2011

Identifying factors: Making Up (Priscilla Mtimkulu)

Identifying factors: Making Up (Priscilla Mtimkulu)Jürgen Schadeberg

When Kenneth Montague was growing up in the Canadian border town of Windsor in the 1960s, he didn’t exactly fit in. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he was more attracted to the scene across the river in Detroit, a vibrant center of African-American culture. The city’s political activism and powerful music influenced Montague and encouraged him to think more deeply about his own identity as a black Canadian.

As an adult, Montague continued that quest by collecting art. Now a dentist based in Toronto, he operates Wedge Curatorial Projects to investigate black identity through exhibitions, publications, and educational programs around contemporary art.

A sample of Montague’s collection is now on view at the Nasher Museum of Art through January 2012. The exhibition, “Becoming: Photographs from the Wedge Collection,” features more than 100 original photographic portraits by more than sixty global artists.

“I grew up asking the question, ‘Who am I?’, and I am drawn to artists who search for that same answer,” Montague says. “The portraits in ‘Becoming’ reflect memory, nostalgia, history, achievement, and promise. These things are all important to me.”

Additional programming surrounding the exhibition will include a talk by Montague on September 27, two film screenings, and an “Art for All” event with the North Carolina Central University Art Museum on November 10.