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Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Exploring History: Chloe Cooley by Wayne Moore

In 2023, we commemorated the 230th anniversary of the 1793 Act to Limit Slavery and the Chloe Cooley incident with an exhibition titled, “Bound and Determined.”

We also hosted the first annual event honouring Black history in Niagara-on-the-Lake on July 9 (2024 date to be announced soon). Here is an original artwork created by Wayne Moore, titled “Chloe Cooley,” that was created for the anniversary.

Moore’s work aims to empower Cooley’s legacy rather than focusing on the brutality of what happened to her.

It commemorates her legacy and the significant impact her resistance had on people of African descent.

To aid in this, the painting features Cooley surrounded by a collage of reproduction archives about the sale of enslaved people, freedom seeker stories and the development of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s rich Black history.

At the centre of the piece is the depiction of Cooley. In her hand are two distinct flowers: the African daisy and the primrose.

They represent wisdom, strength and having lost someone important. They also represent determination, positivity and courage.

Often when images are seen in greyscale, they are seen as “old” or that of the past.

In contrast, when images are seen in colour, it creates the feeling of something more modern.

The use of the greyscale hand holding Chloe’s picture frame evokes reflection on what is considered the past and the future and how both are valued in the painting seen in the present.

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