LETHBRIDGE — With Black History Month nearing an end, a group of photographers is putting together a collection of photos, poems and short stories that highlight the Black experience in Lethbridge and across Alberta.
They’ve also received submissions from 13 people in the province looking to add to the magazine.
Oseremen Irete, a member of the We’re Here Too collective said the response from other Black artists has been positive.
“We all sat together and looked through the ‘zine. People felt very seen and they were like, ‘yes. This has been my experience of Lethbridge,'” said Irete.
The effort not only highlights experiences in Lethbridge and other parts of the province, it also gives Black artists a platform, which can be a big hurdle for anyone in the industry.
“As Black people, sometimes you can feel excluded from professional art, or that publications are just too far away from you, or you feel like you may not fit in to that world,” said Irete.
“We wanted to give people the opportunity to submit their work, go through that process with us, and kind of get some experience under their belt.”
Bariyaa Ipaa is another member of the collective who echoed a similar feeling.
“There isn’t enough of that work that showcases the reality of what it means to live in a Black community in its entirety and not just the representations that turn into stereotypes,” said Ipaa.
Members say being able to focus on the contemporary life of Black people in the area has been the focus of the project.
“A lot of the focus during Black History Month is, as the name says, on history. But we wanted to give people the opportunity to see and experience what it’s like as black people to live in Lethbridge,” said Irete
“This is also an opportunity to show that you can do really cool things right here in Lethbridge.”
COVID-19 restrictions have changed how the collective would have liked to launch the magazine, but the group is still excited to get the work out into the world.
A launch is planned at Analog Book in Lethbridge from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Photos have been posted on the group’s Instagram account, but members said the real physical copy of the work is the real prize.