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Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Unveils The Fabric of Our Being Textile Installation

Produced in partnership with arts educator Nadine Williams and TDSB Waterfront School students, “The Fabric of Our Being” commemorates Black History Month and the International Decade for People of African Descent.

TORONTO, /CNW/ – Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on Thursday unveiled “The Fabric of Our Being”, a textile art installation celebrating and bringing awareness to the International Decade for People of African Descent (2014 to 2024), a United Nations (UN) initiative. The government of Canada officially recognized the decade in 2018 and recently announced its extension to 2028. The project was conceptualized by poet, author and arts educator Nadine Williams and her Collective and features designs by the students of the Toronto and District School Board (TDSB) Waterfront School.

“The Fabric of Our Being” project fuses art and poetry to tell stories and celebrate Black history. Bordered with African fabrics from many nations, and centred by the shape of the African continent, the quilt features 30 tiles designed by grade four students at the TDSB Waterfront School. As part of the creation process, students chose one of four criteria to incorporate in the design of the quilt tiles: An Amazing Black Canadian (ABC), Recognition, Development, Justice (the theme of the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent), Mother Tongue and The Fabric of Our Being, a poem by Nadine Williams that inspired the project.

The quilt now on display at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and developed with the designs of the TDSB Waterfront School students, features portraits of prominent Black Canadians such as Jean AugustineViola Desmond and P.K. Subban. It also features artwork speaking to the themes of diversity, justice, resilience and Canada’s multicultural identity. Learn more here.


“I am incredibly elated and thankful that PortsToronto and Nieuport Aviation have agreed to come onboard to ensure a smooth flight for this meaningful project and that The Waterfront School agreed to participate. This collaboration strengthens my resolve to keep soaring to new heights, especially now that we have been given an extension of four years. This partnership epitomizes the Federal Government’s Black History Month theme of ‘Black Excellence: A Heritage to celebrate; a Future to Build’. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is my first airport installation and I am looking forward to many more to come.”

–       Nadine Williams, poet, author and arts educator, founder of the Nadine Williams Pen Foundation and The Fabric of Our Being project

“As a contributor to Toronto’s vibrant waterfront, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport strives to reflect its community and showcase the stories that matter to those we serve. We are proud to support Nadine Williams in shining a spotlight on Black Canadian history, and to be able to do so in partnership with our neighbours, the students and teachers at the TDSB Waterfront School, makes this all the more meaningful.”

–       RJ Steenstra, President and CEO, PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

“We hope our visitors and guests appreciate this work of art as much as we do. Nadine Williams, and our local Waterfront School students, have done a great job in capturing the inspirational work of prominent Black Canadians. We were humbled when we were asked to showcase this work in our terminal and to help pay tribute to the artists and the stories, improving the customer experience at the airport in the process.”

–       Neil Pakey, President and CEO, Nieuport Aviation, owner and operator of the passenger terminal at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

“The Waterfront School students are thrilled with the opportunity to learn about people of African descent in Canada and to create the illustrations for the quilt inspired by artist Nadine Williams. They are delighted to be part of the celebration quilt being displayed at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport commemorating this decade.”

–       Dolora Harvey, Principal, Toronto District School Board Waterfront School

SOURCE PortsToronto

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