I know from experience that many artists prefer to let their work speak for itself, and with how beautiful Lamin Martin’s work is, I’m surprised his submission wasn’t blank!
Lamin’s entry makes one think pretty heavily about our societal need to add a “Black” modifier before just about everything. Black businesses. Or Black television. Black Twitter. Lamin has a point—though the reason to differentiate is of noble intent (we started with nothing, so this is us carving something out for ourselves), when does it go from pride in our community to pigeonholing ourselves? From successfully establishing services by us for us to having set the bar too low as we exclude the other 97% of the country? Just because we’ve spent so long doing things one way, does it make it the right way?
Of the submissions I’ve received for this year’s Tales, the ones I’ve enjoyed most are those that make me think or question my assumptions—Lamin’s definitely makes the cut!
I hope you enjoy today’s Tale from the 2.9, and who knows—maybe it’ll inspire some interesting conversations in your life!
We’ll see you tomorrow!
What does being Black Canadian mean to you?
I never thought of it in any other terms other than I’m a Canadian.
What’s your experience been like as a Black Canadian and how has it shaped who you are today?
My experience has been great! I have a job doing what I love and I’m surrounded by people who respect me based on who I am and not what I am. And it’s that level of mutual respect that pushes me professionally and personally.
What’s something you’d like to see more of within the Black Canadian community?
A diversity of thought that extends past putting being black in front of our professions and/or accomplishments. Me being a Concept Designer is more important to me than being a Black Concept Designer because I was born Black, I had to work to be a Concept Designer.
What do you think those outside the Black Canadian community need to better understand in order to coexist with Black Canadians in a respectful and considerate way?
All they would really need to understand is that the black community is not a hive-minded monolith. Just because there is a fringe group within the community that demands special treatment doesn’t mean that the majority doesn’t share the same values that bind us all together as Canadians.
If your life could teach but one thing to your fellow Black Canadians, what would it be?
You’ll never get anywhere thinking that you’re being oppressed and someone is always out to get you. You have every opportunity available to you and the best way to take advantage of those opportunities is to go after them without mental limitations.
Lamin Martin is a concept designer whose experience includes video games (Game of Thrones: Ascent), feature film (Pixels), television (Heroes: Reborn) augmented reality (Augmented World Entertainment) and package art (IDW publishing), among many others.
Lamin has also written and illustrated several art books and has instructed workshops and lectures at galleries, schools and publicly to audiences of students and professionals.