Festival 2019

CONTACT_CMW_Untitled (Self Consideration)_2Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY.


Toronto’s preeminent month-long festival in May presents an outstanding roster of established and emerging Canadian, American, and international lens-based artists

CONTACT is thrilled to announce that renowned American artist Carrie Mae Weems will headline the 23rd edition of the city-wide event, spanning the month of May 2019.

Weems’ exhibition in five parts, sited at distinct locations across the city, represents the artist’s first solo exhibition in Canada. Her work will be presented in two gallery exhibitions, including a new iteration of her recent project, Heave (2018), at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. The CONTACT Gallery will display a series of Weems’ photographic works, and present three major public art installations downtown, including on the exterior of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival. Weems will be in Toronto for her exhibition openings and a public lecture, with dates to be announced in January.

Recently chosen by T: The New York Times Style Magazine as one of the “The Greats” in the creative sector in 2018, Weems is among the most acclaimed artists of her generation. Her work explores the human experience by revealing different aspects of society and the role of systemic power, both historically and today. Since Weems began her practice in the 1970’s, she has examined and expanded visual narratives of gender, family, racism, class, and identity, and investigated themes of social inequity and injustice, environmental degradation, conflict, and violence. Although addressing a wide array of issues, her overarching commitment is to help us better understand our present moment by examining our collective past. Weems’ work is exhibited and collected by major museums and galleries around the globe.

Heave1__loResCarrie Mae Weems, Heave installation view at Cornell University, September 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY.

CONTACT 2019 will also showcase an outstanding selection of Canadian and international lens-based artists. The Festival’s core programming comprises collaborations with major museums, galleries, and artist-run centres as well as site-specific public art projects. These are cultivated through partnerships and commissions, and frame the cultural, social, and political events of our times. 

The Festival launches Wednesday, May 1, at Ryerson Image Centre, with Primary Exhibitions by Moyra Davey and Meryl McMaster. Davey is the 2018 Scotiabank Photography Award winner.

Early Festival highlights include: Taysir Batniji, Prefix ICA / Deanna Bowen, Jacqueline Hóang Nguyễn, Morris Lum, Krista Belle Stewart and Hajra Waheed, Gallery 44 / Erika DeFreitas, Gallery TPW / Peter Funch, billboards in Toronto / T.M. Glass, Onsite Gallery/ Mike Hoolboom and Jorge Lozano, A Space Gallery / Ayana V. Jackson, Campbell House Museum / Annette Mangaard, John B. Aird Gallery / Sanaz Mazinani, Aga Khan Museum / Manar Moursi, Trinity Square Video with SAVAC / Nadia Myre, Textile Museum of Canada / Zinnia Naqvi, Peel Art Gallery Museum / Louie Palu, McMichael Canadian Art Collection / Bianca Salvo, Osgoode Station (TTC) / Sputnik Photos, Brookfield Place / Michael Tsegaye, BAND Gallery / Carmen Winant, billboards in Toronto and across Canada / Nevet Yitzhak, Koffler Gallery / Elizabeth Zvonar, Westin Harbour Castle.

Select program highlights include the Paris Photo/Aperture Foundation Photobook Award exhibition and the CONTACT Photobook Fair, which brings together independent publishers and leading contemporary photographers to present newly released publications. Visiting publishers include Self Publish Be Happy, Dewi Lewis Publishing, Archive of Modern Conflict, and Aperture. The CONTACT Photobook Fair and related programmes were conceived with the goal of creating space for practitioners and book enthusiasts to build connections, discover new projects, and exchange ideas on books and photography. Submissions for the CONTACT Book Dummy Reviews will open February 1.

Full Festival details will be announced in the spring.

Ayana V. JacksonAyana V. Jackson, Saffronia, from the series Intimate Justice in the Stolen Moment, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Baudoin Lebon.
Moyra Davey, Detail from Subway Writers, 2011/2014. Courtesy of the artist. Collection of Anurag and Payal Khanna.


Meryl McMasterMeryl McMaster, My Destiny is Entwined with Yours, 2019. Courtesy of the artist, Stephen Bulger Gallery and Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain.


Being: New Photography 2018Carmen Winant, installation view of Being: New Photography 2018 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 18, 2018–August 19, 2018. © 2018 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Kurt Heumiller