For a young, Black artist on the come up, this pathway—and success as a professional artist—wasn’t always so seamlessly apparent. While wildly talented, Eke also benefited from her mother’s own artistic skill and instruction to help hone her unique style before formally pursuing art further in school.
Growing up in Toronto’s North York area before moving to Scarborough, Eke also benefited from the backing of her close-knit community. Early on, she joined R.I.S.E. (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere), one of Toronto’s largest and longest-running youth-led initiatives. “I think that community really showed me how important it is for different artists to actually support one another,” she says.
Described as open love letters to Black women, Eke’s portraits of these inspirational women stem from her strong connection to her Caribbean roots and her faith, as well as to the strong female influences from her own experience. With them, she asks each of us: “How are Black women represented?”
For the latest Complex Canada episode of Northern Clutch, powered by Now Playing Toronto, Complex Canada caught up with Alexis Eke in her Toronto home.