Raechele Lovell, a passionate Artivist, is rooted on a block of The Haldimand Tract, colonially known as Kitchener, ON Canada. Her journey in the arts began as a child on tour with the polyrhythmic dance and music of her Caribbean heritage, igniting a lifelong quest for creative expression. As a bi-racial artist, with Afro-Caribbean and German Mennonite heritage, Raechele navigates the intricate intersections of identity, culture, and artistry. This rich tapestry of lineage informs her work, intertwining ancestral heritage with contemporary narratives and grounding her in a unique perspective as an Afro-diasporic artist on Turtle Island.

Raechele’s work is deeply anchored in her decolonial praxis, a framework nurtured through The Anitafrika Method under the mentorship of d’bi.young anitafrika at the Ubuntu Decolonial Arts Centre. This praxis challenges colonial norms and celebrates the rich traditions of Afrodiasporic storytelling. Raechele believes in the transformative power of the arts as a conduit for healing, understanding, and social justice, driving her commitment to creating spaces where marginalized voices are amplified and stories of resilience and resistance are brought to the forefront.

As the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of DiverseWorks Dance Co., Raechele envisions a future where Afrocentric artistry thrives. Her latest project, “Uncovering Roots,” delves into the historical and contemporary narratives of deindustrialization, exploring personal and collective resilience through movement. Through her unique artistic voice and vision, Raechele aims to inspire and champion change, inviting audiences on a journey of discovery and healing. Her work is a testament to the enduring power of art to connect, transform, and liberate.

Project statement:

Uncovering Roots 

Investigating ties to ancestral deindustrialization through artistic practice. In November 2023, I traveled to Barbados for the second time in my life to celebrate my paternal Grandmother’s 100th birthday celebration. I used this opportunity to research and investigate my family lineage. Through this research, I uncovered the work of my Great-Uncle Israel Lovell, a prominent Pan-Africanist Activist, and our family’s lineage tracing back to slavery on the Drax Hall Plantation. My proposal is to return to Barbados to delve deeper into oral histories and to move my body on the Drax Hall Plantation lands to connect with the spirits of my ancestors and the untold stories they hold. This research will be connected to my place as a bi-racial settler in Canada, a country my father moved to for a “better life” after the borders were opened to countries of colour in the 1960s. On my maternal side, I have three generations of German Mennonite settlers who arrived in the early 20th century in then Berlin, Ontario—my hometown of Kitchener, ON. Throughout my life, I have faced marginalization and a lack of place within this society, struggling with housing precocity, food insecurity, access to education, and numerous other social issues resulting from systemic and institutional racism. My aim is to explore my position within the landscape of Canadian culture as a biracial artist settler and to examine how these experiences intersect with deindustrialization in the British Commonwealth.