Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Announces Highlights of 26th Edition
Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival announced highlights of the 26th edition of the city-wide event. Canadian and international artists will present lens-based works in exhibitions, site-specific installations, and commissioned projects at museums, galleries, and public spaces across Toronto.
The preliminary list of artists includes Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Farah Al Qasimi, Lara Almarcegui, Claudia Andujar, Deanna Bowen, Sandra Brewster, Jorian Charlton, Kota Ezawa, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Sasha Huber, Mahtab Hussain, Onyeka Igwe, Vid Ingelevics & Ryan Walker, Brendan George Ko, Kwasi Kyei, Kadine Lindsay, Andréanne Michon, Tyler Mitchell, Esmaa Mohamoud, Suzanne Morrissette with Clayton Morrissette, Gisela Motta & Leandro Lima, Aïda Muluneh, Shirin Neshat, Bidemi Oloyede, Oluseye, Frida Orupabo, Rajni Perera, Vivek Shraya, and Ilene Sova. Projects by artists rescheduled from 2021 include Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, Wendy Coburn, and Alberto Giuliani.
Themes addressed in 2022 reflect many of the ongoing conflicts and global unrest of the present day. Subjects include the state of the environment and the impact of humanity and geopolitics on climate change; Black culture and identity; effects of and responses to colonialism and systemic racism; and perspectives on land, borders, intergenerational knowledge, and histories.
Curators participating in the 2022 Festival include: AXIS Curatorial (Noor Alé & Claudia Mattos), Tairone Bastien, Chris Boot, Roya DelSol, Anique Jordan, Sara Knelman, Andrea Kunard, Zun Lee and Sophie Hackett, Courtnay McFarlane, Memory Work Collective, Gaëlle Morel, Crystal Mowry, Michèle Pearson Clarke, Sarah Quinton, and Mark Sealy, among many more.
“We are pleased to offer a preview of the exciting line-up of participating artists, with some projects remaining on view beyond May. We look forward to working with the artists, many of whom will create site-specific works for our Core exhibitions and outdoor installations. The CONTACT team is also thrilled to welcome back many of our longstanding partners and sponsors who continue to support one of the world’s top photography festivals,” said CONTACT Executive Director Darcy Killeen.
Preview of CONTACT 2022 artists:
CONTACT Gallery | Metro Hall | Toronto Billboards
Curated by Mark Sealy
May 1 – June 30, 2022
Tyler Mitchell is an African American photographer who works in fashion, documentary, and art photography, as well as film projects, which include autobiographical topics and themes of identity. Mitchell refers to his practice as a “Black utopic vision, in which the young Black men and women around me look dignified, are presented as a community, and also ask the tough questions in terms of: what are the things we’ve been historically denied?” Mitchell’s exhibition in three parts, sited at distinct locations across the city, represents his first solo exhibition in Canada.
Mitchell made history by photographing Beyoncé for Vogue’s September 2018 cover—the first Black person to do so in the magazine’s history. He is part of a new generation of image-makers reshaping the lens through which we see culture. Mitchell’s presentations are curated by British curator and cultural historian Mark Sealy, whose focus is photography’s relationship to social change, identity politics, and human rights.
Deanna Bowen | Black Drones in the Hive
Ryerson Image Centre | Main Gallery
Curated by Crystal Mowry
April 29 – August 6, 2022
This exhibition celebrates the visual practice of Montreal-based artist Deanna Bowen, winner of the 2021 Scotiabank Photography Award. Originally produced by Bowen under a commission from the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (KWAG), Black Drones in the Hive draws its title from a historic, bigoted insult aimed at local Black journeyman William Robinson by a city official in Berlin, Ontario (now Kitchener) in the 1870s. Drawing materials from the KWAG’s permanent collection as well as local and international archives, Bowen clusters historic documents, illustrations, and publications in a series of thematic constellations, weaving together narrative threads of migration, racist dispossession, entrenched power networks, and hierarchies of remembrance.
Sandra Brewster | Walking the Don
Evergreen Brick Works
Curated by Kari Cwynar and Charlene K. Lau
May 1 – October 31, 2022
Sandra Brewster’s outdoor installation Walking the Don connects surrounding communities with her work in Toronto’s ravines, contributing Black diasporic narratives to the urban wilderness. Based on research on Black experiences in the outdoors gathered in collaboration with writer, traveler, and scholar Jacqueline L. Scott, Brewster’s series features documentation of plant life from around Evergreen Brick Works and Don River Valley Park. The images are embedded along the southern portion of the Beltline Trail, leading and accompanying residents and visitors on their own walk towards the Brick Works site.
Memory Work Collective | Memory Work
Curated by Memory Work Collective
May 1, 2022 – April 30, 2023
Memory Work is a mixed-media mural that imagines a future of Toronto characterized by collective care and the application of ancestral knowledge to technology. Installed at The Bentway’s Strachan Gate, this series of embellished photographic portraits tells the story of a cohort of women leaders in Toronto 2038. Memory Work invites audiences to explore possible roles and ways of being—the cosmetic healer, the creative biologist, the purposeful placement officer—that our changing city might one day require or aspire to.
Aïda Muluneh | Water Life
Textile Museum of Canada
Curated by Sarah Quinton
April 6 – September 25, 2022
Aïda Muluneh created Water Life in the arid salt flats region of Dallol, Afar, in Northern Ethiopia—one of the hottest places on earth. This 2018 photographic series drives attention to people around the world who suffer from lack of access to clean water. The artist’s striking images are of women wearing dramatic garments whose graphic forms are derived from regional Ethiopian dress. They also make formal connections to textiles across cultures. This tension relates to women’s health, sanitation, and education the world over. Muluneh transforms often-clichéd depictions of African life into powerful pictures of women and social activism.
Frida Orupabo | Woman with snake
460 King St. W, north façade
Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein
April 28 – June 30, 2022
Exploring questions of race, gender, culture, class, and their complex intersections, Frida Orupabo fuses together varied sources of archival materials to question colonial and modern representations of Black womanhood. Positioned on the façade of a Victorian-era building, monumental images by the Oslo-based, Nigerian Norwegian artist portray Black women’s bodies as sites of knowledge and empowerment.
Esmaa Mohamoud | The Brotherhood FUBU (For Us, By Us)
Westin Harbour Castle Conference Centre, west façade – now on view until April 1, 2023
Harbour Square Park, May 1, 2022 – April 30, 2025
Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein
Focusing on the physical connection between Black male bodies by amplifying the symbol of the du-rag, Esmaa Mohamoud confronts the dynamics of gender and race. Her massive photographic mural, the first phase (launched in 2021) of a two-part commissioned project, asserts a commanding occupation of public space. Foregrounding two men within an expansive scene, the Toronto- and Markham-based artist opens a powerful dialogue about systemic inequity while signaling positive change. The second phase of the project will feature a du-rag inspired bronze sculptural commission that will be positioned in nearby Harbour Square Park.
Supported by the City of Toronto, Cindy and Shon Barnett, Dara and Marvin Singer, and Partners in Art (Founding Patron). Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022.
CONTACT will once again host an exhibition of work by the New Generation Photography Award recipients organized by the National Gallery of Canada in partnership with Scotiabank. The award recognizes outstanding photographic work by three emerging Canadian lens-based artists, age 35 and under.
The 2022 winners will be announced in February 2022. CONTACT will also celebrate The Prefix Prize, an annual award designed to honour artists of any nationality at any stage of their careers who have yet to receive the recognition they deserve. Launched in 2021, the prize consists of an exhibition, a publication, and a cash award.