Sylvia D. Hamilton is a Nova Scotian filmmaker, writer and artist raised in Beechville, a community established in Nova Scotia, by free Black Refugees from the War of 1812. Her films include Black Mother Black Daughter, Speak It: From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia, Portia White: Think on Me and The Little Black School House, among others. They have been broadcast in Canada and screened at festivals at home and abroad. Her writing has appeared in a variety of Canadian journals and anthologies. Her poetry collection, And I Alone Escaped to Tell You was a finalist for a 2015 League of Canadian Poets Award and is a finalist for the 2018 Nova Scotia Masterworks Award. Excavation, a multi-media installation, has been shown at the Dalhousie Art Gallery (2013), the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (2014), The Thames Art Gallery in Chatham, Ontario (2015), and Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law in Halifax (2016), the University of New Brunswick Art Centre (2018), The Royal Ontario Museum (2018) and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2018). Her body of work—film, writing and installations— has brought the history, contributions and life experiences of African Canadians into the mainstream of Canadian arts. This work stands in opposition to the erasure of Black Canadians from traditional representations of Canada. She draws on archival sources and collective oral stories to create a counter-memory. Carrie M. Best: Champion for Human Rights, about Carrie M Best, a ground-breaking Nova Scotian journalist and newspaper founder, is her latest documentary.
Hamilton’s recognitions include a Gemini, the CBC Television Pioneer Award and three honorary degrees. She holds a BA from Acadia University and an MA from Dalhousie University. She has taught at Mount Saint Vincent and Acadia Universities and has lectured at universities across Canada. She holds the Roger’s Chair in Communications at the University of King’s College in Halifax. She Lives in Grand Pre, Nova Scotia.