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Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Announces Highlights of its 25th Edition

Sara Angelucci, July 24 (Wild grape, Queen Anne’s Lace, Daisy Fleabane) (detail), from the series Nocturnal Botanical Ontario, 2020. Courtesy of the artist, Stephen Bulger Gallery, and Patrick Mikhail Gallery.
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Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Announces Highlights of its 25th Edition

Toronto’s preeminent month-long festival will showcase public art installations by established and emerging Canadian and international artists in May 2021

Esmaa Mohamoud, The Brotherhood FUBU (For Us By Us) (production detail, mural)2020. Courtesy of Georgia Scherman Projects.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada… Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival today announced highlights of the 25th anniversary edition of the city-wide event spanning the month of May 2021. Artists from Canada and around the world 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 Sara AngelucciDana Claxton, Susan Dobson, nichola feldman-kiss, Sasha Huber, Onyeka Igwe, Erik Kessels & Thomas Mailaender, Emmanuelle Léonard, Sebastein Miller, Esmaa Mohamoud, Isabel Okoro and Timothy Yanick Hunter, Frida Orupabo, Jon Sasaki, and Rehana Zaman. Artist and educator Logan MacDonald will curate a multi-artist public project, and Toronto Photo Laureate and artist Michèle Pearson Clarke is curating a group exhibition featuring works by Nicholas Aiden, Lacie Burning, Seamus Gallagher, Tom Hsu, Christopher Lacroix, Wynne Neilly & Kyle Lasky, Isabel Okoro, Michelle Panting, and Brianna Roye. Projects rescheduled from 2020 include artists Laia Abril, Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, Wendy Coburn, Alberto Giuliani, Kim Hoeckele, Vid Ingelevics & Ryan Walker, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, Thirza Schaap, Greg Staats, Malgorzata Stankiewicz, and Tereza Zelenkova.

 

CONTACT celebrates this milestone anniversary during Toronto’s Year of Public Art in 2021. Inaugurated in 2003, the Festival’s public installations program cohesively engages site, image, and viewer, and expands its activation of spaces throughout greater Toronto next year to provide high-profile platforms for artists to explore critical and timely concerns. Themes addressed in 2021 reflect the intense upheaval, ongoing conflict and global unrest of the present day. Subjects include the perception of Black bodies in contemporary and colonial paradigms; Indigenous perspectives on land, culture, sovereignty, and the effects of colonization; the intersectional experiences of artists from queer and disabilty communities; representations of women’s bodies as sites of power challenging history; the state of the environment and the impact of humanity and geopolitics on climate change; and isolation, existence and survival during times of pandemic.

 

“Public installations have long been a vital aspect of our core program and are now highly anticipated by the international photography community,Toronto residents, and visitors. Many artists are showing in Canada for the first time and a number of participants are commissioned to create site-responsive works for public spaces. The 2021 Festival focuses on the environment and centers BIPOC voices through projects that confront local and global realities to expand knowledge and stimulate conversation. By fostering creative engagements in the public sphere, we aim to provide opportunities for meaningful dialogue,” said Artistic Director Bonnie Rubenstein.

 

“The CONTACT team is thrilled to be able to mount these engaging and thought-provoking projects during ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021. As we present our 25th season with an outstanding roster of lens-based artists, we are pleased to welcome back many of our long-standing partners and sponsors who continue to support our activites as one of the world’s top photography festivalsWe very much look forward to greeting the public in May, both in-person and online,” said CONTACT Executive Director Darcy Killeen.

Highlights of CONTACT 2021 Public Installations

Sara Angelucci | Nocturnal Botanical Ontario | Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA)

For several years, Toronto artist Sara Angelucci has undertaken a close study of nature in rural Ontario, work accelerated by the lockdown beginning in spring 2020. Cloaked by the darkness of night, she used a scanner outdoors to capture detailed ecologies of verdant plants and insects. Angelucci’s luminous compositions reveal native plants entwined with cultivated and invasive species, speaking to the colonial interests embedded in Ontario’s Crown Land. Presented as murals on the exterior of PAMA—formerly the Peel County Land Registry Office, Courthouse and Jail—Nocturnal Botanical Ontario invites consideration of the complicated and layered histories inscribed in this evolving landscape.

Sara Angelucci, July 24 (Wild grape, Queen Anne’s Lace, Daisy Fleabane) (detail), from the series Nocturnal Botanical Ontario, 2020. Courtesy of the artist, Stephen Bulger Gallery, and Patrick Mikhail Gallery.

 

Group Exhibition | Force Field | Fort York National Historic Site

Force Field is a series of site-specific installations on the grounds of Fort York, curated by Indigenous-settler artist and educator Logan MacDonald. This commissioned project provides artistic platforms for diverse perspectives within a public civic arena outside of a traditional exhibition context. The project engages intersectional artists from Indigenous, queer, and disability communities, and positions their work together to establish dialogues that confront how civic spaces in Canada—particularly parks and historic sites—tend to be colonial and exclusionary, especially in relation to diverse histories, ways of living, and communities.

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