I am an artist-woman. I was born in Hamilton Ontario, Canada.

My father’s family is African / Native American from the Southern United States and my mother’s family is of European decent (England, Ireland, France, Germany). Both my parents were born and grew up in Hamilton. When they decided to marry in 1951, they were detained and questioned by the Hamilton Police Department. The majority of the Miscegenation Laws were not repealed in North America until the mid to late 1970’s.

I was raised within a close-knit-segregated community experiencing and witnessing many of the dramatic changes brought on by the advent of the Civil Rights Movement (whose focal point both politically and spiritually was the Black Church). These events began to alter the accepted social norms of the times and turn them on their heads. “Our” creative energies were, finally, allowed to openly flow toward the expression of change. We, black artists, embraced a Renaissance of production which included film, music, writing and visual arts within communities worldwide.

The researches of both African-diasporic and European spiritual / cultural / intellectual practices and their interplay, within slave cultures, have been an inspiring and pivotal point in the on-going development of my art.

My journey embraces the symbols of these practices not only as they were passed on to me as pure notions. Researching, decoding, investigating, interpreting the meanings and hidden meanings encoded within practices of Africa’s slave cultures globally has become the passion of my life and work. My studies lead to a wider and more inclusive analysis and interpretation of the religion, of politics and the politics of religion and their manifestations both horrible and wonderful.


Jan Wade



Artist Statement