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Hannah Somers: The Music Sang “Lean on Me”

November 1–December 2, 2023 
Student Gallery 

In her exhibition The Music Sang “Lean on Me” Hannah Somers investigates her own identity by returning to her roots, creating visual conversations between her mother and aunt, biracial twin sisters adopted into a white family in the 1960s. The photographs and video featured in the exhibition recount the circumstances of the sisters’ upbringing and its effect on their racial and social identities. The imagery probes their role models, and depicts their relationship with one another through discussion and gesture. Raised within a predominantly white community, the sisters’ were aware of everyone’s eyes upon them and the stereotypes that clung to their Black individuality. Through lighthearted conversation they recount growing up with no familial connection to their heritage or the Black community. In response, they idolized and felt connected with figures in popular culture and the media.

Fig. 1

Hannah Somers, Their Hair, 2020, inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist  

Fig. 2

Hannah Somers, Marbles, 2020, inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist

Fig. 3

Hannah Somers, On Your Back, 2020, inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist

Fig. 4

Hannah Somers, Side by Side, 2020, video. Courtesy of the artist

Watch full video

Artist Bio

Hannah Somers

Hannah Somers is a Tkaronto/Toronto-based artist and curator. She has a completed BFA at Toronto Metropolitan University in Image Arts Photography Studies. Being a biracial woman of colour with a Caribbean heritage has influenced many of her investigations. Her work centralizes around the expression and discovery of identity, ethnicity and race. Understanding different relationships and histories of these themes are important in her process. Utilizing photography, video and audio, she creates narratives within her fine art practice. She recently exhibited her work at Stephen Bulger Gallery and the Alliance Française Gallery and curated a group exhibition at the Artspace Gallery in Tkaronto/Toronto. Her work has been included in publications such as Filling Station Magazine and Public Parking Journal.