Canada's Kwame Delfish / The BlakBrush, Walmart TREE OF HEROES, Black History Month Project

Arist Kwame Delfish

The BlakBrush

Release Date

Tuesday, February 13, 2024


Walmart Canada collaborates with Scarborough’s very own Kwame Delfish to design their exclusive Black History Month merchandise celebrating Black excellence. As a multidimensional artist, with a career spanning over 30 years, Kwame’s most recent work includes both the 2022 and 2023 Commemorative Black History Month coins featuring the Underground Railroad and the No. 2 Construction Battalion. This year, he and his creative team, The Blak Brush, had an opportunity to partner with Walmart Canada to share a powerful message about Black ambition and accomplishment.

The design, entitled: “The Tree of Heroes” encourages individuals to use their imagination to dream big and pursue their goals regardless of the systemic barriers that they will inevitably encounter on their journey. We become empowered to push through adversity when we see ourselves in others who share our identities and lived experiences. Representation matters. This is the underlying theme that The Blak Brush conveys to the audience with their design.

“Everyone wants to be the hero in their story. However, all of these systems disproportionately impact Black women, so it can be discouraging for them at times. As a father raising a little Black girl, it was important for me to capture something that would not only inspire my daughter, but children all across the country. I wanted her to see herself as any one of the heroes in the tree. I want to instill in her that regardless of her gender or race; she is powerful and can achieve anything she wants,” said Kwame Delfish, creative director at The Blak Brush.

On the surface, the design appears to be quite simple but it is a body of art with deep meaning and connection to the Black community. Depicted in the image, a child reads a book under a tree. The stories in the book leap off the pages as the child’s imagination begins to grow, and forms a collage of images within the foliage of the Black Maple tree. At a glance, the foliage of the tree represents an afro—a hairstyle that is synonymous with Black/African identity and pride. Much like the kinky and coarse texture of afro hair, the Black Maple tree is often unappreciated for its strength, resilience and utility. Overall, the Black Maple tree represents Mother Nature and the duality of adversity and success that exists within it.

In turn, the collage of images not only represents Black people pushing through adversity leading to various empowering accomplishments, but also offers a sense of belonging, culture and identity while amplifying a plethora of exciting potential career pathways. Lastly, the colours (red, yellow, green & black/brown) for this design are inspired by colours synonymous with Black History Month.

“We pride ourselves in making sure that our designs are impactful more than they are just cool or nice to look at. We’re deeply committed to storytelling– well truth telling really. So how we arrive at our final design is just as important to us, if not more. We’re excited to see how community responds. I’d like to ask that everyone go out and support this cause. We need to demonstrate just how valuable these kinds of opportunities are for our community so more partnerships like this can continue. A huge shout out to Walmart Canada for this amazing opportunity as well,” said Claudia Appiateng, writer & storyteller at The Blak Brush.

Celebrate this Black History Month in style with The Blak Brush’s Tree of Heroes reusable bag and/or t-shirt currently available in select Walmart stores across Canada. Proceeds will support the incredible work being done by the Black Business and Professionals Association (BBPA).

About The Blak Brush:
Barbershops and hair salons are cultural safe havens for the Black community. It is where people can converge, converse and connect with each other, while being beautified by their favourite barber or hairstylist. There is a level of vulnerability that occurs when a client agrees to take a seat in the chair and let the expert’s artistry take full control. Consistently replicating this simple and significant experience is the foundation on which deeper connections are formed, not only between hair artists and their clients, but evolves into something far greater—community.

It is from here that The Blak Brush emerged: Blak is the culture, Brush is the tool.

Founded in 2019 by Kwame Delfish, to represent the culmination of his artistic mediums and community-based endeavours, the brush is the tool used for creative expression to help redefine Black narratives and spaces. In doing so, much like in the barbershop or hair salon, The Blak Brush aspires to create the kind of environment that fosters safety and vulnerability as each client takes a seat in their chair and shares their stories with them.

They are the authors of their stories, and have the privilege of telling them–one brushstroke at a time. Please visit @theblakbrush on Instagram or to learn more.

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