Young Montrealer among a select group featured in
Dawson College’s exhibition

Egbert Gaye

As a second-generation Canadian and a Black woman, Asia Mason’s life story intertwines between the daily realities of resistance and resilience in a society where her race and gender have her on the frontlines in the struggle for social justice.
The 20-year-old Montrealer, a visual artist, and archivist, studying Photography at Dawson College uses her art to highlight her source of empowerment and to shine a light on the generational linkages that keeps her grounded.
Her maternal grandmother, Roslyn Antoine has been a central link in Asia’s ancestral chain and is the focus of Asia’s on-going artistic project, which she describes as “a fusion between collected archives and my own created images.”
For the past two years, I have been documenting my grandmothers’ past, including her journey from Trinidad and Tobago to Canada.”
That project titled 201972 has earned Asia a place among a select group of 12 artists made up of professionals, emerging talents, and students whose works are featured in a unique online exhibition titled, Resistance and Resilience, presented by the Warren G. Flowers Art Gallery and the Dawson College Peace Centre.
Organizers of the exhibition state that Resistance and Resilience highlights “the narratives of under-represented and—by extension—under-heard communities of Canada: Legacy, and migrant/immigrant experiences.”
And it garners urgency and relevance at a time when the need for racial equity and justice is more pronounced.
Asia stands tall among this highly respected group of artists whose work in the words of curator Rhonda Meir, “(are) compelling, and had something to say not only to myself as a viewer, settler, and progeny of immigrants, but to one another (…) each artist in Resistance and Resilience enshrines this unique expression of identity, power, and strength.”
Growing up in an all-female environment with her grandmother, mother, and two older sisters, she says her work is influenced by several female artists who focus on “domestic relationships and connections to home, and the people we share those spaces with.”
And she sees it as “evidence of the personal being political; also, that what happens in our intimate spaces and relationships is connected to a larger social and political structure.”
In bringing the project 201972 to life, Asia made several trips to Trinidad visiting the home where her grandmother grew up, in Rousillac on the southern edge of the country.
Once there, she captured images of her grandmother’s past as well as photos depicting the realities of today. She was also able to gather a treasure trove of mementos and pictures that traced the family history in the Caribbean.
And it continued when Asia’s grandma, Ms. Roslyn Antoine journeyed to Montreal in 1972 unconsciously laying the foundation for the groundbreaking project, 201972 is turning out to be.
‘These images are a compilation of self-portraiture and family archives. They contain letters and postcards from Trinidad when my grandmother first came to Canada—letters from her mother wishing her safe passage, and postcards from sisters and cousins updating her on life back home—generations of history and love that, once placed in my work, are given a new context. By fragmenting both myself and this archive, I show how I am directly connected to those who have come before me.”
Check out the exhibition Resistance and Resilience: