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Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival announces its 2019 spotlight on Carrie Mae Weems
Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY.

TORONTO.- Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival announced 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.

In addition to Weems, a selection of North American and international lens-based artists will present a diversity of projects in museums, galleries, and public spaces across Toronto. The preliminary list of artists includes Taysir Batniji, Moyra Davey, Weronika Gesicka, Mike Hoolboom and Jorge Lozano, Ayana V. Jackson, Sanaz Mazinani, Meryl McMaster, Nadia Myre, Louie Palu, Sputnik Photo Collective, Michael Tsegaye, and Carmen Winant.

Critically acclaimed and 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 photographers and multi-media 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 late 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. Often produced in series, her work is exhibited and collected by major museums and galleries around the globe.

Artistic Director Bonnie Rubenstein said, “CONTACT has chosen to place a spotlight on Carrie Mae Weems in 2019 to highlight the significant depth, breadth, and power of her oeuvre; her importance as a groundbreaking artist of the 20th and 21st centuries; and her work’s ongoing critical relevance.”

Weems’ work will be presented in two gallery exhibitions during CONTACT 2019, including a new iteration of her recent multi-layered project Heave (2018), at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. The installation incorporates photography, video, text, spoken word, music, projection along with design and architectural strategies to probe the devastating effects of violence in our lives.

Additionally, the CONTACT Gallery will display a series of Weems’ photographic works and present three major public art installations in downtown locations including the exterior of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival.

CONTACT executive director Darcy Killeen said, “We are delighted to welcome Carrie Mae Weems—one of the most influential artists of our times—to our city and to the 2019 Festival. We are also pleased to offer a preview of the exciting line-up of participating artists coming to Toronto next May. We look forward to working with them, many of whom will create site-specific works for our primary exhibitions and public installations. The CONTACT team is also thrilled to welcome back many of our long-standing partners and sponsors who continue to support one of the world’s top photography festivals.”

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