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CONTACT Photography Festival: OCAD U Community Roundup

An image of a man with a thin moustache on a background with a beach scene obscured by pink strips of paper and shells.

Image: Grandpa Alfonso Age 18, Nassau Bahamas (2022) collage by Ilene Sova, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Art and Chair and Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting.

 
CONTACT Photography Festival:
OCAD U Community Roundup  

In its 26th year, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is celebrating the art and profession of photography throughout the month of May.  
 
In 150 exhibitions featured in galleries, museums and public spaces throughout the city, the festival is showcasing an exceptional range of projects by lens-based creatives from Canada and around the world, many of whom are members of the OCAD University community, including graduates, faculty and staff.  

Their works explore pressing contemporary issues, exploring themes including global diasporas and Blackness, colonial residues and tactics of resistance to humanity’s effects on the climate, its relationships to nature and visions of hopeful alternate futures. 

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Fable for Tomorrow 
Solo exhibition featuring works by Wendy Coburn, former OCAD U faculty member  
February 16 to May 14, 2022 
Onsite Gallery 
 
In this first survey exhibition of work by the late Wendy Coburn (1963 – 2015), Fable for Tomorrow examines the breadth of her practice as an artist who demonstrated tremendous facility with sculpture, installation, photography and video.  
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I Am Hu(e)Man 
Solo exhibition featuring works by Bidemi Oloyede, BFA Photography 2019 
April 29 to August 31, 2022 
Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) 
Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022 
 
Over the last decade, Nigerian-born photographer Bidemi Oloyede has made Toronto his home and the primary source for his series of nuanced portraits depicting members of the Black community. Three recent works, presented as large-scale banners on the façade of PAMA, focus on the Black male subject. Strong, vibrant and inimitable, these men are immortalized at a massive scale. 
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Now You See Me 
Group exhibition featuring work by Meryl McMaster, BFA Photography 2010 
May 5 to June 25, 2022 
Doris McCarthy Gallery 

Bringing together artists who consider the power dynamics of image-making in their distinct practices, Now You See Me includes Black, Indigenous and artists of colour, who variously identify as women, femme and non-binary. They use photography to explore issues related to gender and cultural identity, asserting themselves as directors of their own images to pose questions about the complex cultural and gender-related politics that underlie self-representation. 
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The Brotherhood FUBU (For Us By Us) 
Photo mural by Esma Mohamoud, MFA Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design 2016  
June 10, 2021 to April 1, 2023 
Westin Harbour Castle 
 
Focusing on the physical connection between Black male bodies by amplifying the symbol of the durag, Esmaa Mohamoud confronts the dynamics of gender and race. Her massive photographic mural asserts a commanding presence in public space. Foregrounding two men within an expansive, resplendent scene, the Toronto- and Markham-based artist opens a powerful dialogue about systemic inequity while signalling positive change. 
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The Forest is Wired for Wisdom 
Billboards featuring works by Brendan George Ko, BFA Photography 2010  
April 29 to May 30, 2022 
Billboards across Canada
 
Toronto-based artist Brendan George Ko is a visual storyteller who uses photography, video and poetry to depict the natural world. Presented on billboards in eight cities across Canada, The Forest is Wired for Wisdom is a series of luminous, almost incandescent images of flora nestled deep under the forest canopy, paired with poignant excerpts of Ko’s poems. Together they offer passersby moments of contemplation and awe at nature’s beauty, while pointing to the forest ecosystem’s fragile interconnectivity. 
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UNKNOWN RELATIVE  
Solo exhibition featuring works by Ilene Sova, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Art and Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting
June 2 to August 5, 2022 
John B. Aird Gallery 
 
Assistant Professor Ilene Sova draws on personal memory, deep research and familial archives to create intricate photographic collages and video works that explore the complexities of mixed-race identity and themes of African diasporic histories.
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View Find(H)er: Finding Women Working in Photography 2022 
Group exhibition featuring work by Dainesha Nugent-Palache, BFA Photography 2016  
April 26 to June 10, 2022 
Art Gallery of Mississauga 
 
This exhibition is the first step in a project that aims to find and showcase the work of women artists that have a connection to Mississauga. The title of the exhibition references the eyepiece on the camera, known as the viewfinder, that a photographer holds close to their eye when taking a picture. Like the viewfinder, View Find (H)er is about looking and finding. It discovers a remarkable range of works and highlights a promising array of women artists. 
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What does good work look like? 
Exhibition featuring works by Dr. Suzanne Morrissette, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts & Science and Clayton Morrissette 
April 15 to May 28, 2022 
Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography 
 
In this exhibition, Toronto-based, Métis artist and Assistant Professor Dr. Suzanne Morrissette works with her brother Clayton to consider how exchanges between artists and their family members produce knowledge about history. The series of photographs and videos reflect on the act of imagining possible futures from within the context of climate catastrophe, ongoing colonial violence and inequities and familial tensions exacerbated by the global pandemic. 
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What is Left 
Group exhibition featuring work by Wendy Colburn, former faculty member  
May 13 to June 11, 2022 
Paul Petro Contemporary Art  

This group exhibition explores the intersection of memory and loss in the aftermath of change, inspired in part by the exhibition Fable For Tomorrow at Onsite Gallery.

Note
If you are a member of the OCAD University community with artwork in the festival and you would like to be included on this list please contact sdoherty@ocadu.ca.