An Art and Wine event led by local artist Nicole Alexander took place at the Brantford Public Library on Thursday, February 16, 2023.
The evening was organized to help celebrate Black History Month and attracted close to 40 attendees.
Alexander decided that because it was the week of Valentine’s Day, along with Black History Month, she wanted to incorporate both themes in the night’s work.
She spoke of unity and certain instances that her family has experienced in their 17 years in Brantford. She said that even though some people may look different on the outside, on the inside we are all human.
“We are all one and even if we start in smaller ways, we can let people know that we are all apart of humankind, and that we should treat each other with respect and kindness,” said Alexander.
Attendees were given free art supplies (wine costs extra), step-by-step instructions and were reminded that they are the artist. They picked background colours of their choosing before starting to draw the silhouette of a heart and trying to express the idea of unity on each of their canvases.
“I wanted people to express themselves in their colours and I wanted them doing their own thing too,” she said. “Even though I’m guiding them – they have the liberty because they are the artist and I really want them to choose colours that appeal and speak to themselves. It’s a wonderful experience to express yourself and be creative on canvas, it’s a moment to relax and enjoy the company of others,” she said. “
Alexander started drawing early on in life, often drawing on the walls of her grandmother’s home in Tobago, Trinidad – little did they know she was a budding artist.
She focused on her studies while in Trinidad and moved to Canada at the age of 17 to high school before attending York University and receiving her Bachelor of Science degree.
Alexander moved back to Trinidad for two years before returning to Canada and marrying her now husband. Her husband gifted her art supplies while pregnant with their first child and she began to tap back into her art.
People began commissioning work and started to respond and engage through art shows as she continued to make her art.
“Art is inside of me and it’s a message I feel like I need to give to others,” she said. “A lot of the time, my art is what I feel on the inside – a feeling of joy, of celebrating my culture and where I’m from. I love to dance so many of my paintings have dance and joy in them, I love to express that on canvas. For me the inspiration of painting comes from the music that I listen to and the dancing that I do. Another big side of it as well is letting people be aware of what is going on in my culture – for instance a message for my daughters that are beautiful just the way we are – I wanted to show them that as people of colour, we are all beautiful and we can be seen on canvas as well.”
Roughly five years ago, Alexander began doing paint party workshops and has since been involved in going to schools in the Grand Erie district, baby showers, birthday parties and more.
During the pandemic, Alexander began to offer free online workshops for kids and adults to have an outlet and explore art.
Nicole is a self-taught artist working with the mediums of oil, acrylic and watercolour.