Nompumelelo Moyo (LJI)
Two Montreal students, Mathem Maluak and Mallory Lowe Mpoka made the cut for the RBC Future Launch Black Youth Scholarship worth $10 000 per year (for up to four years) for their academic excellence and strong community involvement.
The RBC scholarship is designed to help Canadian Black youth achieve their goals in education and training without financial constraints. As evidenced by statistics data, 94 percent of young Black students want to obtain postsecondary education but cannot afford it that and other issues.
The scholarship is especially helpful to Maluak originally from South Sudan, majoring in Civil Engineering at McGill University.
He recently spoke to the CONTACT about his passion for his field of study.
“I love building, designing, exhibiting the ability to analyze structural drawings,” says Maluak who also plans to work on environmentally friendly sustainable development projects after his studies and hopes to accumulate enough work experience and exposure in Canada before returning home where he feels his newly-acquired skills and knowledge are much needed back home.
Maluak describes himself as determined and hard-working and his resume shows an extended list of extra curricula activities as well as the many impressive positions under which he serves including, as vice president for the National Society of Black Engineers an organization that fosters interest in engineering among minority students.
He was also a member of Engineers Without Borders, and served as student navigator at McGill Library, resident assistant at McGill Housing and Student Services as well as one of the university’s remote learning assistants.
The young Sudanese says he is home sick after not seeing his family for 12 years. He left home to study in Kenya at the age of 13, before coming to Canada on a scholarship. Despite that he, remains positive and focused on this goal and keeps imagining how the reunion will be.
Maluak talks about going through some twists and turns to get this scholarship: initially a friend had advised him to apply for a DESTA Black News Network bursary but says his application was forwarded to RBC were he ended up being nominated and well…. the rest is history.
The other beneficiary of the scholarship, Mpoka is a third year visual artist student at Concordia University and community manager.
The young Montrealer whose father is from Cameroon West and mother Belgium uses her mixed heritage in her art to bring out these two identities. She uses natural dyeing, screen-printing, embroidery, self-portraiture, textiles, and analog photography in her work.
She is and has been involved in a number of group exhibitions such as The next contemporary gallery (upcoming), The African Photography Biennale (13th edition, Bamako Mali, interweaving curated by Assia Dione, Dakar, The Sun of Our Shared Selves, curated by Genevieve Wallen, Montreal, In Flux, curated by Phi Centre, Montreal, Spaced, curated by Banded Purple and The Nia Centre for the Arts, Toronto.
Mpoka has done workshops and talks such as Self-Investigation through Self-Oortraiture, workshop, organized and facilitated by Foundation Jean-Felicien Gacha, Cameroon, L’impact du territoire sur la creation an Artist Talk Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal.
‘Being a part of the Concordia Fine Arts community has been incredibly uplifting, allowing me to rediscover confidence not only in my chosen career path, but in myself,” she says.
Currently she is researching on the Indigo plant, which is used as dye for cotton yarn. The Bamileke people from Cameroon use the indigo on the Ndop cloth. This basic fabric is used as traditional wraps and bears some cultural significance amongst African people.
“This degree is helping to deepen my practice within a supportive environment, be mentored by established and wonderful artists, professors and become a better community leader,’ Mpoka.
As a community manager for Nigra Iuventa they develop art projects and do social media for Afro descendants and Black artists. In addition, she is also a special project and membership coordinator with La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, an artist-run center dedicated to the dissemination and development of multidisciplinary feminist practices.
The two recipients in their different career paths are playing a significant role in using their talents to help others and for the enrichment of society and show that they are well deserving of the scholarships.