"Artistic Representations of Diaspora Lives"

The “Fragments of Memory: Artistic Representations of Diaspora Lives” is a project which aims to bring together international scholarship regarding the Historical African Diasporas, with creative art production initiatives from Global Africa. The focus is biographical. The concept of the project is based on creating experimental ways of visually representing the lives of individuals who endured slavery as part of their existence between the 15th and the 19th century. African men, women and children chained in slave ships and taken to different parts of the world left accounts, biographical sketches and testimonies. Historians and scholars around the globe have been working on life trajectories of these individuals, tracking their movements, shifting and creating new identities, cultures, writings or having their name written on papers in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. The project is part of the SHADD_hub where many of the historical sources are stored and displayed in an online database. The “Fragments of Memory” project is also part of the artistic initiative from the UNESCO Slave Route Project: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage.


This project bases its productions in dialogic and interdisciplinary methodological approach. This creates the metaphoric and critical space for the dialogue between scholarship and art. Artists with different styles, inspirations and backgrounds, working with different media and supports are invited to take part in workshops with selected researchers working on particular biographies and life experiences of people from the Era of Historical Slave Trade. Historical documents, secondary sources and aesthetic references are translated and brought together into a space of immersion for the invited artist and invited scholars.The results of this process is never final, it is in production. In other words, its a step along the path. A path for metaphoric marronage, from where enslaved people can escape once more from the high walls of academia and reach different horizons. Also a path leading to a crossroads where artistic knowledge and creative scholarship meet.

Project History

This Public Art History project had its first concrete step forward in late 2015. The Project Director Bruno R. Véras had some notes and thoughts, coming from experiences developing the Brazilian art-education program África Aparece (awarded the Antonieta de Barros Nacional award for the promotion of Racial equity). In October 2015, the artist Pablo Parra sent Bruno R. Véras a message on a social media platform about the Projeto Baquaqua, the creative work being done there and the research activities with Professor Paul Lovejoy and Nielson Bezerra. Starting with this first conversation, new ideas popped-up, new artists and scholars got involved and the proposal for the research-creation workshops were created. The concept for Fragments of Memory was then created with the support of Prof. Paul Lovejoy, Prof. Daniel Yon and partnerships on a section for the UNESCO GHA and SHADD_hub were formed. The launching of the first edition of this project was in October 2019 at York University, Canada and marked the start for a series of talks, travelling exhibitions and partnerships between scholarly institutions and creative spaces.

Website Visual Identity and Platform

The central visual identity of the website aims to provide the public a clean, accessible and neutral layout with standardized fonts and a purple and grey colour palette. Each edition of the project, which can be accessed directly from the menu bar, has its unique colour scheme and design in order to reflect their individuality within the project at large. The central banner on the home page is a mixed media piece created by Billy Parrell. It incorporates printed images (photographs by Leandro Verissimo) of the dancer Helio Lima performing in “Baquaqua: Body and African Faith”. Parrell used acrylic paint and ink for the piece which was later digitally enhanced by Fernanda Sierra Suarez, also the design consultant of the website. The front-end of the website was developed using HTML5 and a bootstrap framework, providing standardized Javascript and CSS classes of codes to be later adapted. The present version of the website was coded by Fahad Qayyum in and co-designed by Pablo Parra in 2019-2020.


Bruno R. Véras

Art-Educator, Researcher and Producer

Project Director

Bruno R. Véras is a digital historian and cultural producer whose work focuses on Global Africa, historical slavery and art-education. He directed awarded educational projects in the Global South and coordinated in British Library Endangered Archives Projects and training workshops. He is the director of the Public History initiative Project Baquaqua and Co-Director for the SHADD_hub. His work as a UNESCO consultant for Africa-Brazilian history resulted in museum and art exhibits. He is a documentary filmmaker working on art and performances in Brazil, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Canada and Egypt.

Pablo Parra

Graphic Artist

Artistic Associate Director

Pablo Parra (PunkArt Macumba) is a Brazilian Graphic Artist from São Paulo. He is part of different art circuits in Latin America. He has a specialization post-graduate certificate from UNICAMP, Campinas, and consistent experience as an Art Director in communication agencies, as well as an illustrator, drawing for alternative rock bands and participating in independent international art events circuits. His illustrations feature thick and irregular features as an attempt to merge his references to punk aesthetic with cordel literature. Existential and political themes are commonly found in his works.

Artistic Advisory Board

Fabio Cascadura
York University

Denizá Barbosa
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

Fred Caju
Castanha Mecânica

Fernanda Sierra Suárez
Culture and Expression York University

Fahad Qayyum
York University

Research Advisory Board

Daniel Yon
York University

Myriam Cottias
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

Babajo Sani
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University

Henry Lovejoy
University of Colorado

Melchisedek Chétima
Université de Maroua

Nielson Bezerra
Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro

Feisal Farah
American University of Nigeria

Marta Scaglioni
University of Bayreuth

Ismael Montana
Northern Illinois University

Vanessa S. Oliveira
Royal Military College of Canada

Contact us

Bruno Verás


329 York Lanes
York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3