From having his artwork published in a city-wide newspaper at 16 years old to having his artwork in 20 TTC subway locations in the GTA as an adult, Robert Small’s artistic career has set a precedent that would be hard to match. While others pondered how to garner interest in Black History Month, Small demonstrated incredible initiative by creating a poster called The Official Black History Month Poster in 1995. He has played a central part in elevating awareness of Black History Month through his art ever since.
Robert was the first African-Canadian artist in history to appear on mainstream media outlets such as Muchmusic, TSN and CBC Radio. He has also been prominently featured in The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, Share, Pride Newspaper and other local newspapers. Over the years, his artwork has been the centrepiece of Black History month celebrations. Many community organizations, corporations, school boards and police service boards have supported his poster. Small is also solely responsible for initiating the first national Black History Month campaign in Canadian history. With the aid of the Bank of Montreal, the 2016 edition of the LEGACY poster appeared in every branch of the BMO across Canada. This year the LEGACY poster celebrates its 22nd year anniversary and it’s first STEAM booklet. The STEAM booklet that Small created uses art and the creativity that naturally flows through it to make youth more interested in the sciences, technology, engineering and math.
Throughout his career Small has always taken the initiative to meet the future and present needs of the Black community. Robert is a self-taught artist. He graduated from the University of Windsor with a degree in Sociology and a certificate in Criminology. He is also a certified teacher after graduating from Teachers College at York University in 2014. He presently sits on the board of the Ontario National Association of Black School Educators (ONABSE) and a member of the Caribana Arts Group.