A veteran photojournalist on the arts and entertainment scene, Julian Bynoe is a Toronto-based cartoonist, artist and arts blogger. From 1996 to 2014, he was the arts/entertainment editor for the street publication The Outreach Connection, and has had articles featured in Realms Magazine, among others.
Renown Canadian artist Michael Snow has his video installations Newfoundlandings for the 2017 CONTACT Photography Festival, to run at Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art at 401 Richmond Street West May 5 to July 22.
The annual month-long photography festival CONTACT keeps its lens mainly focused on our nation’s sesquicentennial for its 2017 theme this May
CONTACT Photography Festival 2017 Preview
Like any other country, Canada is a pretty photogenic place from its rugged, untamed beauty to the hardcore ugliness of our urbane nature. So it comes as no surprise that the photography festival CONTACT has made a majority of the mainly 200 free exhibits and installations across Toronto from 1,500 artists about the nation as it marks its 150th anniversary of its founding running May 1 to 31, including special events and workshops for professional and amateur shutterbugs alike.
At its flagship CONTACT Gallery at 80 Spadina Avenue is a debut exhibit for Toronto-born, New York-based photographer Petra Collins’ Pacifier (April 29-June 24) using her younger sister as her muse to explore young femininity and youth culture whilst looking into her Hungarian roots, including a public installation at 460 King Street West/Spadina Avenue on the northern façade to June 30th that continues the same theme.
Three exhibits at the Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West) make up part of the festival’s Primary Exhibits list with Free Black North (April 29-August 20) features photographs of African-Canadian men, women and children living in Ontario in the mid to late 1800s, descendants of African slave refugees who escaped enslavement in the southern United States, from collections of Brock University and the Archives of Ontario, many shown here for the first time; the group exhibition Photography Collection from 1840s to 1880s (April 27-December 31) on the AGO’s new photography gallery on the medium’s artistic, historical and cultural impact on society and the short film series Canada (April 13-December 10) from filmmaker Mark Lewis presenting the titular film of a woman meandering through a coastal park whilst reading the 2012 novel Canada by American writer Richard Ford; Valley about a man making his home in Toronto’s Don Valley Parkway with a Walkman playing the Joni Mitchell classic Canadiana tune “A Case of You” as he contemplates on industrialization and the environment and Things Seen, as shot at the local Scarborough Cliffs as a young woman rises from Lake Ontario to claim a stake on its nearby beachhead.
Left-right: Debra Friedman’s tropical youth culture exhibit Coming of Age in Wonderland: Portraits of Teenage Bermuda featuring “Elbow Beach, Bermuda, 2016” at Art Square Gallery (344 Dundas Street West); Jason van Bruggen’s intrepid Arctic Circle series Ice in the Palm House at Allan Gardens with “Reindeer Herd #4” (19 Horticultural Avenue) and this year’s Scotiabank Photography Award winner Suzy Lake gets a retrospective – including 1994’s “My Friend Told Me I Carried Too Many Stones #9” – at Ryerson Image Centre (33 Gould Street) are part of the 2017 CONTACT Photography Festival.
At the University of Toronto’s Art Museum (7 King’s College Circle) is It’s All Happening So Fast: A Counter-History of the Modern Canadian Environment (May 3-July 15) a portrait of contemporary Canada containing archival photos and stories of environmental disaster, activism and government regulation; as each reveals the anxieties, risks, and conflicts associated with the modern ideas of progress; John B. Aird Gallery (900 Bay Street) has the city-commissioned project An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto’s Natural Parklands (May 2-26) looking at the sorely overlooked green space in and around our metropolis as captured by Robert Burley and at TIFF Lightbox (350 King Street West) shows Hollywood North at work with On Location (April 27-May 31) where Sam Cotter captures all the television and film sets around town that keeps the local economy going and its grandiose film festival on the map.
Harbourfront Centre and the surrounding area keeps its CONTACT events within the with two photo exhibits at Bill Boyle Artsport (235 Queen’s Quay West): Joanne Ratajczak’s northerly sojourn Yukon Sketchbooks (April 29-June 18) and Morris Lum’s Canadian Chinatowns exposé Tong Yang Gaai (through June 18) and two large outdoor photo installations, Bound, Hupfield 2017 (through May 14) based on the painting by video artist/photographer Anna Hupfield’s late mother Peggy Miller and also part of her two-channel video installation both at The Power Plant (231 Queen’s Quay West) and Best Beach (through December 31) situated at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel (1 Harbour Square) created by Winnipeg-based artist Sarah Anne Johnson echoing the natural landscape of Toronto Island’s south shore is imbued with colour, both digitally and by hand, celebrating the landscape while underscoring a reliance on human intervention and spectacle.
There’s a lot of anniversaries going around the fest, including the sesquicentennial; starting with the Trinity Bellwoods BIA holding Do Photo: Happy Birthday! (May 1-31) as the local business guild holding birthday pictures in its neighbourhood storefront windows along Dundas Street West, between its Grace and Bathurst Streets of local shops’ first and more recent birthdays to personal archival photos of past Dominion Day celebrations, Canada Day and Expo 1967 from Library and Archives Canada; the Woman’s Art Association of Canada (23 Prince Arthur Avenue) marking their own major milestone year with the group exhibit Now and Then: Celebrating 130 Years (May 2-30) by past and present members; the National Photographers Association of Canada (NPAC) taking over First Canadian Place’s Main Lobby (130 King Street West) with their tenth annual National Pictures of the Year exhibit (May 1-12) and the rock music photo gallery Analogue (163 Sterling Road, Unit #189) for their sixth annual open-call Sound Image exhibit (April 28-May 27) of musicians, performances, crowds, festivals, and concerts from local and international artists.
And for more intrepid and off-beaten fares, CONTACT will host Return to Twin Peaks (May 1-31) at Field Trip Café (3 Westmoreland Avenue) with Blake Morrow’s recreations of David Lynch’s 1990s cult TV masterpiece; Jeff Powis’ examination on the phenomenon behind life’s coincidences, Things Just Happens (May 1-31) at Rooster Coffee House (479 Broadview Avenue) and Robert DiVito’s Haitian roughen travelogue series Huit Jours Dans un Taxi Haïtien (April 28-May 29) at Society of Sound Studio (1444 Dupont Street).
CONTACT 2017 starts May 1; most events and venues are FREE. For more information, call 416-539-9595 or scotiabankcontactphoto.com.
Left-right: Dr. Shawna Pandya at 32 is an accomplished young doctor, a Taekwando Black Belt with Team Canada and now is literally aiming for the stars in the CBC-TV documentary series We Are Canada; created by Ken Dryden and narrated by Sarah Polley.
Hockey icon and politician Ken Dryden executive produces current TV series on Canada’s future leaders
Recently launched on April 9 on CBC Television, the six-part television documentary series We Are Canada looks to put a spotlight on young Canadians outstanding in their fields that will brings solutions and innovations in a era that seems so currently entrenched in the dark times we seem to find ourselves, yet the light in these particular individuals refuses to extinguish themselves against the odds, as created by one of this country’s greatest NHL hockey goaltenders and a member of Parliament, Ken Dryden, who also serves as executive producer.
Developed by the locally-based independent TV/film/new media company White Pine Pictures, which produced the Emmy award-winning feature documentary Shake Hands With The Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire and two Academy Award-shortlisted features A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman and Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould; and narrated by noted Canadian actor/filmmaker Sarah Polley, the series celebrates the accomplishments of young Canadians who are groundbreakers, creators and visionaries, making new discoveries and connections across many disciplines including science, technology, politics, business and the arts, as each one-hour episode will profile three young innovators.
Among them, as exemplarily examples are Waterloo’s Maya Burhanpurkar, 17, a brilliant young scientist, inventor, award-winning filmmaker, STEM champion and explorer with multiple ground-breaking discoveries in medicine and physics; Khalil Baker, 34, of Vancouver, founder of Taking Root, a Canadian non-profit organization that develops social reforestation projects in collaboration with small-scale farmers in Nicaragua; Toronto-based Ph.D. Dan Werb, 36, an award-winning epidemiologist and journalist with expertise in HIV, addictions and drug policy; Winnipeg’s Robb Nash, 35, engages young people to inspire hope and encourage positive life choices; Caro Loutfi, 27, of Montreal, founder of Apathy is Boring, Canada’s only non-partisan, national organization that is for youth by youth and Director of the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg, Ry Moran, 38, who has created a permanent archive for all curated materials related to Canada’s Residential School system gathered during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, among many others.
With a French-language version of the series that will air on ICI Radio-Canada Télé and ICI RDI at a later date this summer, Dryden hopes to showcase that there is some sense of hope especially during Canada’s 150th anniversary that has proven time and again that this country has produced a young and dynamic multicultural citizenry able to contribute to the good things to society, the nation and the world in general.
As he says so himself: “The innovation, vision, and leadership, delivered with passion by the eighteen creative, compassionate and determined young Canadians in We Are Canada makes me proud, hopeful and confident in Canada’s future.”
We Are Canada airs Sunday nights through May 14 on CBC Television 7 p.m. (7:30 p.m. NST); check local television listings. For more information, visit cbc.ca/2017/wearecanada or whitepinepictures.com/we-are-canada.
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