Black Art at Night: Bria Miller

I'thandi Munro
Posted on February 24th, 2021
by I'thandi Munro

It's me, I'thandi, and I'm back. Today we are going to talk about Bria Miller, an artist that has continued to be active in all aspects of art, activism, facilitation, and business.

Bria Miller was originally born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. She is a Queer, Black, Indigenous mixed media visual and musical artist currently working in the North End of Kjipuktuk/Halifax. She believes in the importance of creating spaces for racialized and 2SLGBTQIAP+ artists to create together, have support, get access to explore, and have their individual voices heard. Miller’s interdisciplinary art practice focuses on animation, graphic facilitation, poetry, spoken word, painting, illustration for books, digital art music, and DJing. She tries to do “whatever” and is learning new skills constantly. Doing a little bit of everything comes from being a self-taught artist which has enabled her to expand her skill set pretty naturally.

Miller’s full-time job is with Khyber Centre For The Arts which is an artist-run centre that focuses on anti-oppressive art events, workshops and programming. This includes grassroots initiatives, established artists, and community events. She has previously worked for the Elizabeth Fry Society and this brought out of her passion for the urgencies to uplift women's voices. There she developed a new program started called Creative Community Care which works to better support Black and Indigenous women who are disproportionately affected and punished by the systems upheld by the law enforcement in Canada. This work has been a huge influence on her art-making and community facilitation.

Miller has a business called Bria Makes Things where she uses multiple media to create her artwork in the form of stickers, art prints, and original paintings. She continues to have growth in her practice and is constantly creating. Her work brings affirmations, strength, and resilience that speak to survivors of sexual assault, and racism and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. She is a local leader of the movement with her original BLM artworks seen around town in shop windows, on car bumpers, and in the windows of homes across Mi'kma'ki.

Screenshot from Bria Makes Things
Bria Miller's online shop, Bria Makes Things

Taking BLK Gottingen markets are the most recent events Miller has been organizing, alongside co-creator Kordeena Clayton. This market aims to promote and amplify the voices of Black entrepreneurs in Gottingen Street storefronts. From its inception at Alteregos Cafe & Catering, Miller and Clayton prioritized the thought leadership of Black women entrepreneurs by partnering with NEST Halifax to execute the plan, this event quickly expanded and she used her position through the Khyber to team up with the North End Business Association in the presentation of what became Taking BLK Gottingen. This event uplifted Black entrepreneurs who took part in the local business block party. The North End neighbourhood’s history is a cornerstone of the city’s Black community and was key to its success. Taking BLK has now grown into a traveling market and Taking BLK History - Vendors Market will debut Saturday, Feb 27, 6-9, at the Halifax Brewery Market - here you can check out work by Black creators (including me!)

At Nocturne 2018 Bria collaborated with Liliona Quarmyne, Catherine Martin, Cynthia Martin, Sarah Brooks, and Tayla Fern Paul in Mi'kma'ki 2030. In this dynamic, multi-disciplinary installation-performance, Indigenous and Black artists would dream, hope, and create a different way forward for this land. This initial iteration of the project was later presented at other festivals throughout the region like Mayworks.

In 2020 we were delighted to work with Bria to illustrate the poster and graphics for Meeting Waters: Cross Cultural Collaborations On Environmental Racism, a project lead by Ingrid Waldron and Lindsay Dobbin during Nocturne 2020 : Echolocation, curated by Lindsay Dobbin. This project centred Black and Indigenous solidarity through cross-cultural exchanges on environmental racism in Mi'kma'ki.

Meeting Waters: Cross-Cultural Collaborations on Environmental Racism
Meeting Waters: Cross Cultural Collaborations On Environmental Racism, Poster Illustrated By Bria Miller for Nocturne 2020: Echolocation

You can check out everything Bria is doing over on Instagram at @EncouragingHonesty and don't forget to check out their website Bria Makes Things.