Maisha Marshall-Ende

Maisha Marshall-Ende is a Toronto-based photographer and videographer. Born in Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa, she was adopted by Canadian parents when she was only a few days old. She grew up in Ethiopia, spending only her childhood summers in Canada. She completed her primary and secondary education at an international school based in Addis Ababa and recently obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University in Toronto.  

Maisha’s work explores Black culture in a western context. Her understanding of race was shaped by growing up in Ethiopia, where dark skin was the rule not the exception. Ethiopia is an incredibly diverse country. There are a multitude of nations and nationalities, cultures, over 80 spoken languages and a deep sense of pride and identity rooted in the country’s ancient history. All this to say, Maisha did not grow up as a black woman, but as an Ethiopian woman. She never considered her skin color to be her defining feature; it was only one of the many pieces of her ever evolving identity. Nor did she have a single understanding of ‘blackness.’

Moving to Canada as an adult was a shocking change. No one knew where she came from or the unique experiences that had formed her. Yet her skin color alone was sufficient evidence to categorize and stereotype her. Suddenly, she was a black woman and was expected to conform to a standard she had never even known existed. She turned to her art as a way to make sense of the racially-charged environment she found herself in.

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