Racquel Rowe


Racquel Rowe (Barbados/Canada) is an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, moving image, and site specific installation. She was born in Bridgetown, Barbados. Her practice explores the notion of compulsory visibility and the subversion of dominant ideologies, embracing the differences and similarities between various Black experiences across the Diaspora. Influenced by specific aspects of history, matrilineal family structure, diasporic communities, and her upbringing in Barbados, she engages in critical conversations around race and migration in order to break away from colonial representations. She received an Associates Degree in Law, English Literature and History from Barbados Community College (2012), a BA Honours in Studio Art and History from the University of Guelph (2019) and an MFA from the University of Waterloo (2021). Her work has been exhibited at venues across Canada and internationally, including Optica centre d’art contemporain, Black Artist Union, Queen’s Park Gallery, Trinity Square Video, Struts Gallery, La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, Cambridge Art Galleries, and the Zavitz Gallery. She is a 2022 Museum London and Media City Film Festival Southwest Seen commission artist. She lives and works in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.
ONLINE SCREENING DATES: July 10–August 10, 2023 FILMS IN THIS PROGRAM: Bodies of Water, 8 min, 2023

Bodies of Water, 8 min, 2023

Bodies of Water is a vision birthed between two places: Lake Huron and the Thames River in Southwestern Ontario, and the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean surrounding Barbados. The work explores the artist’s connections to both regions she calls home, including histories of the waterways in both places, early migration to the regions, and connections between Black bodies and water. The split screen work features footage of waterways in all the locations, complemented by a performance in which the artist and another performer explore the connection to water as a site of rebirth and revival of self, through submergence. Using the imagery of baptism, the artist is also effectively regenerated.


Rowe’s practice is largely influenced by her surroundings. For example, being in Barbados for extended periods of time allows her to expand into new environments, researching and performing within familial and community structures. What does it mean to live in a tourist destination—a place represented as an escape, a dream, not reality? And how does this affect its local population? And what does it mean to be exploring this in the middle of the Canadian winter, away from home? These are the questions Rowe is continuously grappling with. 

Read an interview with Racquel Rowe about Bodies of Water on Pancouver

Watch an interview with Racquel Rowe presented by Cambridge Art Galleries

Southwest Seen features new commissions made by three artists with meaningful connections to Southwestern Ontario, and whose practices reflect this region’s diverse culture and history. Outdoor-facing projections from Museum London’s Centre at the Forks, overlooking the Deshkan Ziibi (Thames River), occur during hours of darkness from December 2022–August 2023. 

Southwest Seen features these newly commissioned moving image artworks by Calla Moya (Canada), Racquel Rowe (Barbados/Canada), and Jude Abu Zaineh (Kuwait/Canada/USA). Museum London acknowledges support from the Artist-Presenter Collaboration Projects Program at the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario. Special thank you to the London Ontario Media Arts Association, and Southwest Seen jury members Christine Negus, Evond Blake (aka MEDIAH), Anahí González Terán, and Amanda Myers/Kitaay Bizhikikwe.

All stills, photographs, and artwork for Bodies of Water (2023) courtesy of Racquel Rowe. Screening co-presented with Museum London.