Halifax's Boma Nnaji is using his art to illustrate stories of Black Nova Scotians.
At the Halifax Shopping Centre on Saturday, Nnaji spent six hours from start to finish painting a portrait of a well-known Nova Scotia activist.
It was his way of celebrating African Heritage Month.
With vivid red, blue and green colours, he painted a portrait of Eddie Carvery — who has fought over five decades to protect Africville — as onlookers took photos and stood in awe.
"I want them to see the brilliance and the resilience of people of African descent, and I want to also celebrate an icon from the African community here in Nova Scotia," said Nnaji. "I want to see Eddie Carvery celebrated in beautiful colours."
Nnaji's paintings are showcased on a wall on the mall's second floor. His paintings show scenes, people and places.
He said social issues of the African community in Nova Scotia are often not discussed, and this is where art plays an important role.
"I'm trying to use this as an opportunity to bring those things to the forefront and discuss them with my art," he said.
Nnaji said his use of colour is influenced by his cultural heritage in Lagos, Nigeria, where everything is bright and lush. He also was inspired by graffiti art from an early age.
He said the colours in his paintings help illustrate the beauty of humanity.
His friend, Duntan Salvador, who is also originally from Lagos, came to show her support.
"I saw a piece that he did of a place back in Lagos, and it instantly just took me back there," said Salvador.
"People need to realize that being a Black person here doing what he's doing is so tough. So he needs more recognition."
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here
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