Kitchener's proposed 2022 Artist-in-Residence plans to share stories of underrepresented communities through portraits

Yesterday, at a City committee meeting, local artist Bangishimo Johnston was announced as the proposed 2022 City of Kitchener artist-in-residence, pending Council approval. Bangishimo is an IndigiQueer Anishinaabe originally from Couchiching First Nations located on Treaty #3 territory. In addition to being an artist and photographer, Bangishimo is a community organizer and advocate for the inclusion of Black, Indigenous, and racialized voices.

This year, the City of Kitchener has partnered with Textile Magazine for its annual artist-in-residence program, which supports innovation and excellence in the arts. Each year, a new artist holds the position, creating public artwork and showcasing the diversity of the Waterloo Region. As part of the residency, Bangishimo Johnston plans to produce a series of photographic portraits that engage the local Indigenous, racialized, and Black communities. The portraits will explore the ancestral connection to the land and the need to reclaim time honoured teachings.

“The City is excited to welcome Bangishimo Johnston as the City’s Artist in Residence, and we look forward to working with them on their project, ‘The Medicines We Carry,’ says Emily Robson, Manager of Arts and Creative Industries with The City of Kitchener. “Bangishimo’s residency project includes the creation of large-scale portraits that engage the local Indigenous, racialized, and Black communities in their production. These works will be displayed in a public exhibition where visitors will be able to interact with the photographs by accessing audio and text narration.”

"As the Artist in Residence for the City of Kitchener, I look forward to working with the City on my portrait project ‘The Medicines We Carry’ that places Indigenous peoples in a futurism narrative,” says Bangishimo Johnston. "It's also an honour to be the first Indigenous person in this role as well, and I’m thankful for this opportunity. This residency will be a great opportunity for me to work with Fitsum Areguy from Textile magazine and Britney Baldwin from Baldwin Beads as mentors and advisors."

Bangishimo Johnston plans to collaborate with Textile Magazine and other community members to hold workshops and related activities in the future. For more information on the program and upcoming events, visit


For more information, contact: 
Shawn Falcao
Manager, Corporate Communications and Marketing