The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is the largest annual photography event in the world, and a premiere cultural experience in Canada, with over 200 exhibitions and happenings from May 1-31 in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Festival’s full program for the 23rd edition of the city-wide event spanning the month of May 2019, includes its Core Programming of 23 Primary Exhibitions and 15 Public Installations. Influential American artist Carrie Mae Weems will headline this year’s Festival with an exhibition in five parts sited at distinct locations across the city, representing her first solo exhibition in Canada. In addition to Weems, a selection of outstanding North American and international lens-based artists will present an array of projects in museums, galleries, and public spaces across Toronto.
Some highlights of the 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival:
Carrie Mae Weems
Weems’ work will be presented in two gallery exhibitions and three major public art installations in downtown Toronto:
Blending the Blues – CONTACT Gallery, 80 Spadina Ave., #205. May 1 – July 27
The CONTACT Gallery will display an array of Weems’ pivotal early and recent photographic works, including the series All the Boys (2016), which responds to the recent spate of killings of young African American men.
Heave – Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Art Museum at the University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle. May 4 – July 27
Heave (2018) combines photography, video, news media samplings, and ephemera to probe the devastating effects of violence in our life and times.
Slow Fade to Black – Metro Hall, King St. W at John St. May 1 – June 4 In a selection of images from her series Slow Fade to Black (2010), Weems reclaims images of historically significant black women singers of the last century whose legacies appear to fade as time elapses.
Scenes & Take – TIFF Bell Lightbox, corner of Widmer and King St., May 1 – 31
Two works from Weems’ 2016 series Scenes & Take underscore the emergence of a shift in the cultural landscape where her “muse” character inhabits the sets of contemporary television shows featuring black female leads and black writers and producers.
Anointed – 460 King St. W. April 24 – September 6
Anointed (2017) features an image of Mary J. Blige, who Weems photographed for W’s Art Issue shortly after the Grammy award-winning singer’s breakout performance in the film Mudbound.
Scotiabank Photography Award: Moyra Davey
Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould St. May 1 – August 4
This first survey exhibition celebrates the work of Toronto-born artist Moyra Davey, winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Photography Award. Based in New York, she is recognized internationally for her photographs, videos, writings and artist books. The exhibition includes portraiture, still life and photographs of subway scenes, along with a suite of Davey’s films which interweave subjective narratives with the texts and lives of her influences, such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Sigmund Freud, Jean Genet and Pierre Vallières.
Meryl McMaster, As Immense as the Sky
Ryerson Image Centre, University Gallery, 33 Gould St. May 1– August 4
As Immense as the Sky is a photographic series of performative self-portraits set in specific landscapes across Canada where Ottawa-based artist Meryl McMaster examines the overlapping cultures and histories—public and private, familial and non-familial—of both her Indigenous and European ancestors.
Carmen Winant, XYZ-SOB-ABC
Billboards on Lansdowne Ave. at Dundas St. W. and College St. and across Canada May 1 – 31
American artist and writer Carmen Winant’s work will be featured on four billboards in Toronto and 14 billboards across Canada. In a series titled XYZ-SOB-ABC (2019) Winant explores representations of women through collage, mixed media, and installation. Other Canadian billboard locations include: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.
Ayana V. Jackson, Fissure
Campbell House Museum, 160 Queen St. W. May 1 – June 2
Employing her own body, Ayana V. Jackson deconstructs racial and gender stereotypes to create contemporary portraits laced with historical allusions. Deeply influenced by her own fluid identity and her transcontinental practice—working between New York, Paris, and Johannesburg— Jackson’s images crystallize African and African-diasporic realities while challenging a fraught legacy of pictorial representation.