Gloria C Swain is a Black multi-disciplinary feminist artist and activist whose interdisciplinary practice takes the form of paintings, drawings, photography, storytelling, and performance. She is particularly interested in the connections between art and healing, and often uses her work as a vehicle to confront ongoing colonial violence against Black women.
In the critically acclaimed exhibit, Mad Room (2016), on the theme of mental disability and intergenerational trauma, Gloria explored her own experience as a marginalized Black woman in the mental health system and addressed the stigma about mental illness in the Black community. Black Women’s Lives Matter (2018), drew attention to the #SayHerName movement and opened conversation to address the overlooked victimization of Black women and trans folks through police brutality.
She holds a certificate in Community Arts Practice and a Masters in Environmental Studies and was awarded the York University Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award. She is a recipient of the 2016 artist-in-residence for Tangled Art & Disability. Her work has shown at the Gladstone Hotel, the Art Gallery of York University, Tangled Art & Disability Gallery, the Public Studio, Artscape Sandbox, the Theatre Centre, and other venues.
Gloria has a rich history of community arts practices, working particularly with women and trans people, and is well known for her art activism within movements like Black Lives Matter-Toronto, and various Indigenous grassroots social justice groups. She is a published author on disability arts and works as a community arts facilitator and coordinator of art making workshops for Black women, 2-spirited and the LGBTQ2 community. Her art is also an opportunity to focus on her own experience with deep-rooted racism, mental illness, and systems of violence, erasure and oppression.