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Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Returns With a Citywide Takeover

Contact Photography Festival

Discover lens-based works exhibiting across Toronto galleries, museums and outdoor public spaces for the entire month of May

By Designlines

In a press conference held at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival CEO Darcy Killeen announced the festival’s 27th edition to roaring applause. “It is our honour to present a platform for emerging and established artists to celebrate their work,” Killeen shared. Housing more than 40,000 photographs in its renowned collection, the AGO was a fitting place to announce the festival’s return, which aims to celebrate the medium of photography in all its artistic and cultural diversity. Throughout the month of May, nearly 100 artists, documentary photographers and photojournalists will have their work featured as part of the festival’s core programming in addition to more than 300 artists showing in open-call exhibitions across the city.

This year’s CONTACT Photography Festival – free and open to the public – features a roster of talent bringing insights and observations on global cultural, political and environmental issues. Whether lensing the African diaspora or critiquing the public architectural landscape, these works invite audiences to explore complex topics through the art of photography. Here are some of the noteworthy showcases you won’t want to miss.

Wolfgang Tillmans, AGO
Wolfgang Tillmans, Deer Hirsch, 1995.

To look without fear, Wolfgang Tillmans

Throughout his career, German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has experimented with what it means to engage the world through photography. Compiling 450 images taken in 37 countries over the course of a decade, To look without fear presents the full breadth of Tillmans’s career from the 1980s to now. April 7 – October 1, Art Gallery of Ontario.

Contact Photography Festival 2023
Felipe Lavin, Montreal II, 2023.

Desvanecidos, Felipe Lavin

In his CONTACT Festival debut, Felipe Lavin uses evocative images to document the relationship between human singularity and the public architectural landscape. In Desvanecidos, Lavin seeks to capture a solitude that collectivizes each of us. The result is a photographic showcase that balances striking vivacity and simplicity. May 11 – June 4, Galerie LeRoyer. 

Toronto Photography Festival
Anahí González, Atrapado, 2022.

Hacia Arriba / Upwards, Anahí González

Driven by her interest in the relationship between Mexico and Canada, London (Ontario)-based Mexican photographer Anahí González draws attention to systems of power that prioritize the movement of products while restricting the movement and agency of labourers in her CONTACT Photography Festival exhibit Hacia Arriba / Upwards. May 26 – July 8, Xpace Cultural Centre. 

Japanese photographic art
Pengkuei Ben Huang, Fishing village, Rikuzentakata, 2023.

Coastal Mammoth, Pengkuei Ben Huang

This body of work focuses on the reconstructed seawall along the 400km stretch of the northeastern coast of Japan, a decade after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. Coastal Mammoth examines the effectiveness of such architectural structures, the relationship between society and our coastal ecosystems, as well as the social implications of introducing new physical barriers. May 3 – 27, Elaine Fleck Gallery. 

Sunday School, Toronto
Jeremy Rodney-Hall, The Hair Appointment, 2018.

Feels Like Home, Sunday School

Local creative agency Sunday School works to empower visual artists from across Africa and the diaspora to share compelling stories. Debuting at Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, Feels Like Home celebrates notions of identity, fashion, and culture at the intersection of art and education through captivating imagery in spaces they associate with the concept of home. May 6 – 31, Art Gallery of Ontario.

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