About the Artist and Her Projects
Kandis Friesen is an artist and cultural worker from Montréal, Québec, Canada. She uses drawing, video, performance, and installation to look critically at how culture, language, and archives are used to construct public memory. She teaches arts workshops – in university, school, prison, art, and community settings – that are open and accessible spaces for learning, experimentation, and cultural expression.
While living and working in West Philadelphia, I came across several community murals dedicated to the memory of the Black Bottom — its long and beautiful history, strong resistance, and forcible eviction by colluding university and government forces. Hyperaware of ongoing gentrification in West Philadelphia — paralleled in immigrant, working class, and communities of color in my own city of Montreal, as in many cities worldwide — I dug into the history of the ‘urban renewal’ policies and university-driven development displacement of the 1960s, racist policies evident in the 1930s HOLC redlining maps, and their connection to current trends of displacement in West Philadelphia. My work as an artist has focused on erasure, on the legibility of latent histories, and on the sites of resistance that the structures of power would rather keep buried.