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AGO | CONTACT International Photography Talks: Public Art


Free ticketed event, book your online ticket here

The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival initiated its public art program in 2003 with a series of four Public Installations of images in spaces historically used for advertising. Since then they have produced 150 unique projects in high profile sites across Toronto, which includes several collaborations with the AGO.

Join artists Scott Benesiinaaban, John Edmonds, Charlie Engman, Felicity Hammond, Caroline Monnet, and Marleen Sleeuwits for a discussion about their varied practices and site-specific projects in the 2018 Festival. Moderated by CONTACT’s Artistic Director Bonnie Rubenstein, the panel will explore the impact of these photo-based installations that confront the complexity of the city and the dynamics of social and civic life to convey narratives specific to their location.

Scott Benesiinaabandan is an Anishinabe intermedia artist based in Montreal that works primarily in photography, printmaking, and video. He recently completed a Canada Council New Media Production grant through OBx Labs/Ab-tech and Concordia University, where he is currently an MFA candidate. Benesiinaabandan has taken part in numerous international residencies, such as Parramatta Artist Studios, Sydney, and recent exhibitions include Insurgence/Resurgence, Winnipeg Art Gallery (2017-18); 2167, TIFF Bell Lightbox and ImagiNATIVE, Toronto (2017); little resistance, Platform Gallery, Winnipeg, (2015); and has an upcoming solo show at Paved Arts, Saskatoon. Benesiinaabandan presents a commissioned project for CONTACT at Ryerson University.

John Edmonds is an artist working in photography whose practice includes fabric, video, and text. He received his MFA in Photography from Yale University School of Art and his BFA in Photography at the Corcoran School of Arts and Design. Most recognized for his projects in which he focused on the performative gestures and self-fashioning of young black men on the streets of America, he is also known for his portraits of lovers, close friends, and strangers. He has participated in residencies at Light Work, Syracuse, NY; the Center of Photography at Woodstock,Woodstock, New York; FABRICA: The United Colors of Benneton’s Research Center, Treviso, Italy, and The Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine. Recent Exhibitions include Family Pictures at the Columbus Museum of Art, curated by by Drew Sawyer, tête-à-tête at David Castillo Gallery, curated by Mickalene Thomas, James Baldwin/Jim Brown & The Children at The Artist’s Institute curated by Hilton Als, and Face to Face at the California African American Museum. A catalogue of his solo show, Anonymous, was published by Light Work in the Fall of 2017 and his forthcoming monograph, Higher, will be published by Capricious Publishing in Spring of 2018. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and is represented by ltd los angeles.

Originally from Chicago and currently based in Brooklyn, Charlie Engman completed a degree in Japanese and Korean Studies at the University of Oxford. Formerly involved professionally in theatre and dance, he began using photography primarily as a note-taking device. Engman’s commissioned work has appeared in publications such as AnOther Magazine, Dazed, Garage, Pop, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Unemployed, and Vogue. His clients include Adidas, Hermès, Kenzo, Nike, Opening Ceremony, Pucci, Sonia Rykiel, Stella McCartney, and Vivienne Westwood. Engman presents four billboards at Dupont and Davenport in conjunction with a solo exhibition at Scrap Metal.

Felicity Hammond is an artist and educator based in London. She is currently undertaking TECHNE funded research on digital representations of the built environment and their relationship with site, as a PhD candidate at Kingston University London. She holds an MA Photography from the Royal College of Art, London. Hammond has worked with major institutions in London recently, including Tate Modern, The Whitechapel Gallery, The Photographer's Gallery and The Saatchi Gallery, and in 2017 participated in numerous group exhibitions including Rendered Cities, Apex Art, New York; POST FAIL, Fotomuseum Winterhur. Hammond presents a commissioned mural at 460 King St W and solo exhibition at the CONTACT Gallery.

Montreal-based Caroline Monnet is a French-Algonquin multidisciplinary artist from Outaouais, Quebec. She studied Sociology and Communication at the University of Ottawa and the University of Granada before pursuing a career in visual arts and film. Her short films have screened at many festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival, Palm Springs and Sundance Film Festival. Monnet has exhibited her work internationally at venues such as the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Arsenal, Montréal; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Montréal; and currently at Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff. Monnet presents a mural commissioned by CONTACT on street level windows at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Marleen Sleeuwits lives in The Hague, The Netherlands and earned a MA in Photography from the Academy of Art St. Joost, Breda. Her photo works, objects and installations have been exhibited extensively internationally at venues including Gallery LhGW, The Hague; Gallery Feldbusch Wiesner, Berlin; Belfast Photo Festival; the Netherlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam; Brno House of Arts, Czech Republic; Belo Horizonte International Festival of Photography, Brasil; Jeonju Photo Festival, South Korea; and Photo Levallois, Paris. Sleeuwits’ combines new and recent work in her installation at Brookfield Place.

Bonnie Rubenstein has been a director at CONTACT since 2002, and established the Festival’s public installation and primary exhibition programs. She has subsequently overseen a myriad of projects by established and emerging artists from Canada and around the world for the annual city-wide photography festival. Each year she curates numerous site specific installations in public spaces as well as exhibitions in a variety of major galleries throughout the city for CONTACT. Rubenstein previously held positions at Lisson Gallery, London, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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Supported by the Consulate General of the United States, Toronto.

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