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Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival announces full program
Jorian Charlton, Georgia, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

TORONTO.- Today, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival announced the full program for the 26th edition of the city-wide event launching in May, with some projects taking place later in 2022. The Festival features over 140 exhibitions by Canadian and international lens-based artists who will present an array of projects online and in museums, galleries, and public spaces across Toronto. Artists include Stephen Andrews, Claudia Andujar, Atong Atem, Raymond Boisjoly, Sandra Brewster, Sophie Calle, Jorian Charlton, Sunil Gupta, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Brendan George Ko, Meryl McMaster, Memory Work Collective, Tyler Mitchell, Gisela Motta & Leandro Lima, Aïda Muluneh, Shirin Neshat, Anastasia Samoylova, Jeff Thomas, Natalie Wood, and many more. Click here for further information on these artists’ exhibitions and installations. The Festival is free and open to the public, with some exceptions at major museums. CONTACT fosters creative engagement and meaningful dialogue between contemporary artists and the public.

“The range of artists that we have gathered for this year’s edition of CONTACT truly span the globe and bring insights and observations on so many different cultural, political, and environmental issues. The entire CONTACT team is honoured to have such a diversity of talent on view in Toronto, and we thank our many partners and supporters for making all of this possible,” said CONTACT Executive Director Darcy Killeen.

Showcasing exceptional projects by Canadian and international photographers and lens-based artists, the Festival’s Core Program critically and creatively frames the social, cultural, and political events of our times. For CONTACT’s 26th edition there are over 60 Core Program exhibitions produced in collaboration with major museums, leading galleries, and artist-run centres presented throughout Greater Toronto alongside a slate of commissioned, site-specific outdoor installations that activate the city in unique ways. The Core Program is supported by the Festival’s Public Programs which include photobook initiatives, lectures, artist talks, panel discussions, workshops, and more. Click here for further information on Public Programs.

The 2022 Festival will also include over 80 Open Call Exhibitions that embody a broad range of lens-based practices, and bring together the photographic community with innovative presentations at galleries and alternative spaces across the city spotlighting submissions of work by emerging to experienced photographers. Collectively, these foundational components of the Festival generate a vast, immersive experience of photography for communities across Toronto, Canada, and internationally.

Some highlights of the 2022 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival:

Tyler Mitchell
Presented across three sites in Toronto, the work of African American photographer Tyler Mitchell brings a bold vision to the city and his first solo exhibition in Canada. His vibrant images richly portray the beauty, presence, and self-assurance of Black lives, referencing the rich history of Black photography while proposing new futures. Curated by Mark Sealy OBE.

Cultural Turns – CONTACT Gallery, 80 Spadina Ave., Ste 205. April 28 – June 30, 2022
The CONTACT Gallery will display an array of Mitchell’s recent photographic works, including 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?” Presented by CONTACT. Supported by Cindy and Shon Barnett.

Cultural Turns – Metro Hall, King St. W at John St. April 28 – May 30, 2022
In this outdoor installation at Metro Hall, Mitchell’s 13 larger-than-life portraits, in curator Mark Sealy’s words, “produce a defiant sense of Black being, one that sheds the degrading skins of categorization and classification so evident in photography’s past.” Presented by CONTACT. Supported by Cindy and Shon Barnett. Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022.

Cultural Turns – Billboards in Toronto at Dovercourt Rd. and Dupont St.
April 29 – May 30, 2022

In these two images, Mitchell brings the powerful gaze of the Black subject into focus while opening portals into intimate narratives. Presented by CONTACT. Supported by PATTISON Outdoor Advertising, and by Cindy and Shon Barnett. Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022.

Sandra Brewster
Roots – Evergreen Brick Works. Curated by Kari Cwynar and Charlene K. Lau. May 1 – October 31, 2022

In this outdoor photographic installation, Toronto-based artist Sandra Brewster explores the long history of Black presence in the urban wilderness. Developed during her artist residency at Evergreen Brick Works, the photographs in Roots document the area’s plant life in ways that reflect on unceded territories, diasporic migrations, and the need to foster safe, outdoor experiences for Black communities. Brewster’s images are embedded along the Beltline Trail, greeting visitors as they explore the valley. Presented in partnership with Evergreen Brick Works. Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022.

Jorian Charlton
Presented across two sites and online, Canadian photographer Jorian Charlton celebrates Black lives through a range of museum, outdoor, and virtual exhibitions.

Out of Many – Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West. Curated by Emilie Croning. On view until August 7, 2022
In 2017, Toronto-based photographer Jorian Charlton received a collection of 35mm slides from her father for safekeeping. These images—his photographs from Jamaica, New York, and Toronto, taken between the late 1970s and the late 1980s—reveal the artist’s family lineage. Out of Many pairs Charlton’s photographic practice alongside her father’s images, creating an intergenerational dialogue that explores the family album in a contemporary context. Presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario in collaboration with Wedge Curatorial Projects and Gallery TPW.

Georgia – 460 King Street West, North façade. Curated by Solana Cain. May 1 – 31, 2022
Charlton uses the power of the gaze to reclaim the Black experience in this large-format mural featuring a model named Georgia, shown unabashedly caressing herself with fingers adorned in multi-coloured, manicured nails. Standing tall and asserting herself, she confronts the viewer while commanding the space around her. Presented on the façade of a Victorian-era building, the work challenges colonial histories and practices of portraiture. Presented by CONTACT in partnership with Cooper Cole Gallery. Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022.

fi di gyal dem, Digital exhibition. Curated by Roya DelSol. May 5 – August 25, 2022
This online exhibition of works by Charlton and visual artist Kadine Lindsay, presented by Doris McCarthy Gallery, is an intimate celebration of the interior lives of Black women. Alongside portraits, paintings, and animation, fi di gyal dem includes a series of commissioned, collaborative mixed media pieces. This project invites viewers to explore the interconnections in the practices of these artists and the larger cultural moments that inform their work. Presented by Doris McCarthy Gallery in partnership with CONTACT.

Brendan George Ko
The Forest is Wired for Wisdom – Cross-Canada Billboards + Billboards at King St W and Strachan Ave, Toronto. Curated by Tara Smith. April 29 – May 30, 2022

Toronto-based artist Brendan George Ko is a visual storyteller, using photography, video, and poetry to depict the natural world. Presented on billboards in eight cities across Canada, The Forest is Wired for Wisdom comprises a series of luminous, almost incandescent images of flora nestled deep under the forest canopy, paired with poignant excerpts of Ko’s own poems. Together they offer passersby moments of contemplation and awe at nature’s beauty, while pointing to the forest ecosystem’s fragile interconnectivity. Presented by CONTACT. Supported by PATTISON Outdoor Advertising. Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022.

Mahtab Hussain
An Ocean in a Drop: Muslims in Toronto, Aga Khan Museum and Park. Curated by Marianne Fenton. May 20 – October 1, 2022

In his ongoing series of photographic street portraits, British artist Mahtab Hussain addresses and challenges the poor visibility and stereotyping of Muslims in mainstream art and media. For this outdoor installation on the grounds of the Aga Khan Museum, Hussain turns his lens on Toronto’s Muslim youth in ways that bring to the fore their unique individual identities, contributions, and perspectives. Presented by the Aga Khan Museum in partnership with CONTACT. Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022.

Tajvin Kazi and Rishada Majeed, Billboards at Dupont and Dufferin Streets.
April 29 – May 30, 2022

Presented on a billboard the image Tajvin Kazi and Rishada Majeed continues Hussain’s exploration of contemporary Muslim identities. Shot in Toronto in 2021 as part of the series Ocean in a Drop: Muslims in Toronto—a portion of the broader ongoing series Muslims in America—this work echoes Hussain’s outdoor installation of works from the same series, on view at Aga Khan Museum and Park. Presented by CONTACT. Supported by PATTISON Outdoor Advertising. Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022.

Sunil Gupta
From here to Eternity. Sunil Gupta, A Retrospective, Ryerson Image Centre, Main Gallery. Curated by Mark Sealy OBE. On View through August 6, 2022

This exhibition offers a layered view of artist Sunil Gupta’s unique transcontinental photographic vision, bringing together a comprehensive selection of works from his innovative career. From his participation in New York’s radical Gay Liberation Movement in the 1970s to his more recent campaigning in India, Gupta has inspired generations of photographers, artist-activists, and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights. Co-organized by the Ryerson Image Centre and The Photographers’ Gallery (London, UK), in collaboration with Autograph (London, UK), and presented in partnership with CONTACT.

Jimmy Manning
Floe / Flow, Ryerson University, Devonian Square. Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein.
May 15 – September 1, 2022

This site-specific installation by Kinngait-based Inuk artist Jimmy Manning elicits a sense of awe and of deep time, while ringing the global alarm. Conveying a palpable tension, his delicate and haunting photographs of Arctic icebergs fuse with the ancient Precambrian stones in Devonian Pond to generate a new space—a composite landscape reminding viewers of the natural world’s power and beauty, while warning of things to come. Presented by CONTACT in partnership with Ryerson University and the Ryerson Image Centre. Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022.

New Generation Photography Award
Group Exhibition, Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto. Curated by Andrea Kunard.
April 29 – May 29, 2022

The New Generation Photography Award recognizes outstanding photographic imagery by three emerging Canadian lens-based artists, age 35 and under. This year’s winners are Séamus Gallagher (Halifax), Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes (Vancouver), and Clara Lacasse (Montreal), whose work explores the many challenges in contemporary representations of identity, culture, and the environment. The New Generation Photography Award was founded by the National Gallery of Canada in partnership with Scotiabank.

Memory Work Collective
Memory Work, The Bentway, Curated by Memory Work Collective.
May 1, 2022 – April 30, 2023
Artists include: Robert Bolton,Tala Kamea, Rajni Perera, Jac Sanscartier, Macy Siu, Naomi Skwarna, Omii Thompson, Erica Whyte and Emily Woudenberg

Situated at the Strachan Gate entrance to The Bentway, Memory Work is a mural made up of twelve embellished photographic portraits of revolutionary figures from a future Toronto. Initiated by From Later studio with artist Rajni Perera and Memory Work Collective, this speculative monument imagines a world characterized by collective care and politics that value nurturing over growth. Co-presented by From Later and The Bentway with support from CONTACT, as part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022. Additional support by the Canada Council for the Arts, City of Toronto, and the Toronto Arts Council.

Critical Distance Centre for Curators
OF THE SACRED, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 401 Richmond Street West. Curated by Noor Alé and Claudia Mattos (AXIS Curatorial). April 21 – June 5, 2022
Artists include: Farah Al Qasimi, Kaya Joan, Bea Parsons, Yelaine Rodriguez and Whyishnave Suthagar

OF THE SACRED testifies to the survival of personal beliefs, spiritual traditions, and religious practices in the face of colonialism and migrations. In their practices, group of artists trace cultural inheritances of faith, lineages of intergenerational knowledge, and the syncretism of beliefs that emerge in times of turbulent change and upheaval. Presented in partnership with Critical Distance Centre for Curators.

Deanna Bowen, Scotiabank Photography Award, 2021
Black Drones in the Hive, Ryerson Image Centre, Main Gallery. Curated by Crystal Mowry. Fall 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. Organized by the Ryerson Image Centre, presented by Scotiabank, in partnership with CONTACT.

CONTACT Partners
CONTACT’s 2022 program of Exhibitions and Outdoor Installations is developed through collaborations with partners across Toronto, including: A Space Gallery; Aga Khan Museum + Park; Alliance Française, Allied Properties; Art Gallery of Ontario; Artspace Gallery; ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022; BAND Gallery; Bunker2 Projects; The Bentway Conservancy; Brookfield Place; Christie Contemporary; Christopher Cutts Gallery; City of Toronto; Critical Distance Centre for Curators; Doris McCarthy Gallery; Evergreen Brick Works; Gallery 44; Gallery TPW; Goethe-Institut Toronto; Harbour Square Park; John B. Aird Gallery; Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art; Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA); National Gallery of Canada; Olga Korper Gallery; Onsite Gallery; Pattison Outdoor Advertising; Paul Petro Contemporary Art; Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives; the plumb; The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery; Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art; Ryerson Image Centre; Ryerson University; Stephen Bulger Gallery; Textile Museum of Canada; Trinity Square Video; United Contemporary; Waterfront Toronto; Wedge Curatorial Projects; The Westin Harbour Castle; and Zalucky Contemporary. Additional partners will be announced in the coming months.

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