Originally from Montreal, Stanley Wany is an Afro-Canadian artist based in Canada’s national capital region whose practice includes graphic novels, pen and ink drawings, and paintings. He has recently exhibited works in Australia, at the Perc Tucker Gallery in Townsville, Queensland, as well as part of the exhibition Mix the Medias organized by SÕL-CON, The Ohio State University’s Black, Brown, and Indigenous Comics Expo, and Glass Axis Gallery. Wany’s works have also been shown in Canada, the United States, France, Portugal, and Finland, and are found in private and public collections in Canada, the United States, and Australia. Agalma, his first graphic novel, was nominated for a Doug Wright Award, highlighting the best experimental comics at the Toronto Comics and Arts Festival in 2016. As an author, Wany has participated as a guest and panelist in festivals in Canada, France, Finland, Portugal and the United States. In 2018, he completed an artist residency at the Arteles Centre, west of Tampere in Finland, and over the years he has been the recipient of several travel and creation grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Since obtaining a bachelor’s degree in arts, design, and bande dessinée from the Université du Québec en Outaouais, Wany has founded two independent publication companies, Trip Comix, and recently Argle Bargle Books. The basis of his practice in comics and visual arts explores mainstream culture, the subconscious, and myths, specifically as these relate the experience of people of African descent in Western society.
Working as a graphic novelist, I used experimental techniques to visually reveal the unseen, breaking with the conventions of this highly structured medium. Focusing on the internal lives of individuals, my novels unravelled these through fluid representations of symbolic imagery coupled with glimpses of everyday life, abandoning the typical comic strip speech bubbles and panels. Wanting to pursue this further, I began creating detailed compositions for large-scale drawings and paintings. Moreover, with a growing awareness of overlapping stories within Black communities, my practice took to focusing on themes related to the ostracization of Black individuals, and that of our heritage, from the Western mainstream – and to expose the roots of this dominant culture taken from African-American sources.
The medium used, the depicted imagery, and narrative threads express a subconscious feeling, emotion, or idea, inspired by the transcendental works of Jimi Hendrix, Carl Jung, Terence McKenna, and Billie Holiday. Drawings are created either in black ink on white paper, or bright colourful markers and vivid watercolours are used in all-over illustrations filled with recognizable personalities from the collective imagination. Imagery is laid out on the page with no set place where the viewer can rest his or her gaze, giving way to a scroll-like composition in which the line, black hatching, and the juxtaposition of faces and figures create a dream-like continuum in which to project oneself. This infinite line and the constant wandering of the eye are meant to emulate the experience of people of African descent in Western society, as we are constantly engaging in the endless movement of events and the emotions they solicit, going from creation to destruction, and back again.