MEANWHILE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD: Design in Dubai

Flag with advertising for Design Days Dubai in front of the skyscraper The Burj Khalifa
Image from Design Days Dubai
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Design Days Dubai and the emergence of a design community in the UAE.

Shows like IDS (Interior Design Show) here in Toronto have helped demystify design for a general audience. For the price of an entry ticket you can see fresh work by new independent Canadian designers in Studio North and Prototype or take advantage of international guests speaking on design and architecture. Along with Toronto Design Offsite, Design Week’s independent festival that runs concurrently, it’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing. But if you ever happen to be in Dubai in March there is a new show that is growing a community around design in the Emirates. (More MIXED BAG MAG posts on design in Toronto with TODO Festival & Highlights of Design Week 2013)

The first fair in the Middle East that focuses on furniture design and design objects Design Days Dubai aims “to strengthen greater appreciation and understanding for design as a form of applied arts.”

What I love is that the aesthetic collected is BOLD! The work you see at Design Days Dubai shows no fear when it comes to exploring form and materials. But somehow it still manages to be accessible maybe because it is so over-the-top fantastical that it is the recognizable stuff of our dreams – playful, imaginative, and in many cases, like nothing we have ever seen before in the flesh within our reach.

Colourful chair in a baroque style with Mondrian style painting in back and woman sitting beside in high heels The Proust Geometrica Chair on display the PF Emirates Interiors. Image from Design Days Dubai.

People walking through indoor exhibitions, painting with spattered painted on white canvas on left side. Visitors at Design Days Dubai. Photo by Siddharth Siva. Image from Design Days Dubai.

Sculpture of white face suspended ceiling and arms coming out from wall holding utensils, smiling ready to eat. Woman in background signing a book. Image from Design Days Dubai.


Image from Design Days Dubai.

A million times (Time Dubai) by Humans since 1982 from Humans since 1982 on Vimeo.

Man in traditional arabic style dress looking at large black and white abstract painting
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan tours a special preview day at the Inaugural Design Days Dubai at Franziska Kessler
. Image from Design Days Dubai.

Exhibit space with assorted tables, chairs and contemporary design objects Southern Guild Gallery, South Africa. Image from Design Days Dubai.

Gradient Mashrabiya by mischer’traxler for Carwan Gallery, Beirut. Image from Design Days Dubai.

Man hanging a basket like structure woven from camel leather on wood frame. People looking on. Kwangho Lee at his workshop, Camel Leather Weaving at Design Days Dubai. Image from Design Days Dubai.

Chairs shaped liked bean bag chairs makde from coiled rope.Meltdown Chairs by Tom Price, UK. Photo by Klara Urbanova. Image from Design Days Dubai.

The Sharjah Art Foundation. Image from Universes in Universe.

The Sharjah Biennial – art work that pushes the envelope with some serious play and dark humour.

And in another desert location down the road, the Sharjah Biennial gathers together  incredible established and emerging artists who produce projects that skip over, around and through the artistic expressions of new media, street art and installation like kids at a game of hopscotch. Case in point – this stunning-crazy-brilliant piece by French-Tunisian “calligraffiti” artist El Seed.

Art work with collage of Arabic script and human figures with saying Please be Aware this Image Contains NudityBeware of this Artist by Ramin Haerizadeh. Image from www.sharjahfoundation.org.

For obvious reasons, the work that pools around this intimate Biennial is often about analysis of the politics of body, space, and nation but because the execution is so beautifully rendered the intense work powerfully draws you in through your eyes to open your heart and mind to important issues.

The Sharjah Art Foundation. Work by Imran Qureshi. Image from Universes in Universe.

The Sharjah Art Foundation. Work by Mustapha Benfodil. Image from Universes in Universe.

Like Toronto, Dubai is rapidly expanding while exploring what this means for this city that has become an international destination and like Toronto it will be exciting to watch how Dubai grows as a destination for design.

Toronto's CN Tower rising between condo highrises with early evening clouds forming in the sky Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

DESIGN MATTERS: Toronto Design Offsite Festival 2014

FINAL COUNTDOWN! For just $10 you can help support this amazing independent design festival!

Designers are the magic makers, the interfacers.
Designers allow the stuff of dreams to come to life.

Designers have the capability to make our day with well played functionality.

And that is why design matters! Because we live in a world where we engage with design round the clock.

Supporting a community that nurtures designers so they can give birth to great design just makes sense.

This festival is near and dear to my heart because as a designer it brings together some of the best independent talent we have in Toronto and each year I walk away inspired. Plus this warm bunch of creative geniuses do a fine job of thawing out Toronto in the coldest month of the year.

ONLY A FEW HOURS LEFT! Check out Toronto Design Offsite’s Indiegogo Campaign to see how you can help for as little as $10 and upwards for some great perks.

Limited Edition Silk Screen Tote by Studio Jay Wall – Get this Perk by Donating $50

 

 

 

Salvaged Wood Candle Holder by Ian Devenney – Get this Perk by Donating $75

 






From top to bottom, left to right. 1. Work by at TODO ’13 Launch Party. 2. Plate for Imm-Living Not Forkchops Show, Photo by Krystle Merrow
www.krystlemerrow.com @ Studio Huddle 3. Cob Holders by Lana Filippone for Imm Living’s Not Forkchops show 4. Bruno Billio’s install for Come Up to Room Event at The Gladstone 5. Zahra Ebrahim of archiTEXT at the TODO ’13 Launch Party 6. Michael Revil Madjus of Imm Living & Gelareh Saadatpajouh, R & D Director of TODO 7. Vivien Leung, Organizer for Pecha Kucha Toronto 8. Ashley Rumsey and Stanley Sun of Mason Studio at TODO ’13 Launch Party. Unless otherwise noted all images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Festival Talks: Zahra Ebrahim from Toronto Design Offsite Festival on Vimeo.

Festival Talks: Vivien Leung from Toronto Design Offsite Festival on Vimeo.

CONTEMPORARY ABORIGINAL ART: Resources for All The Talent

Aboriginal dance troupe performing outside on hills at night with city of Toronto as backdropKaha:wi Dance Theatre performing The Honouring at Fort York, Toronto. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Experiencing “The Honouring” by Kaha:wi Dance Theatres

It was a mad dash to Fort York from the MacMillan Theatre just coming out of Feng Yi Ting, the contemporary Chinese opera directed by Atom Egoyan as part of Luminato ’13.

I was determined and praying to the Gods & Goddesses of Transport that they would remove all obstacles one may encounter when riding the TTC.

I made it. A little late but it was worth the sprint up to Fort York from Bathurst, camera bag and all.

Aboriginal dance troupe performing outside on hills at night with city of Toronto as backdrop

What a stunning venue! The open air, the smell of the fires, the grass covered hills, old rock walls and the cityscape in behind. The context was beautiful but the visual juxtaposition points to an unfortunate history. The Honouring is:

“a site-specific multi-disciplinary performance honouring First Nations warriors of the War of 1812, featuring Onkwehonwe families who sacrificed to protect Haudenosaunee sovereignty, culture and land. Audiences have the opportunity to understand the complexity of the War of 1812 through the experiential lens of First Nations, offering a human face to our history.  All First Nations took part in the War of 1812 as sovereign Nation allies to Britain. 
The Honouring pays homage to their personal sacrifices and belief in what was the best for their family, community and future generations.”  More info…

Here’s a sampling of just how stunning the work of Kaha:wi is:

“Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (KDT) is one of Canada’s leading contemporary dance companies, recognized for its seamless fusing of indigenous and contemporary dance into a compelling signature choreographic vision.”  Read more…

As part of a continuation of MIXED BAG MAG’s post on National Aboriginal Day and the challenge put out there to Canadians to find out more about contemporary Aboriginal art here are some MIXED BAG MAG recommendations to get everyone started.

All of these organizations, programs, artists, and exhibitions work to dismantle the legacy of stereotypes that has stopped the dominant culture from seeing the dimensionality that we all carry within us as creative human beings as well as offer a critical voice regarding not only Canada’s First Peoples but Indigenous Peoples from around the world.

The below list focuses on Aboriginal arts in Canada and predominantly new media /visual artists. Stay tuned for a part two that will  include much more!

ARTS ORGANIZATIONS AND GALLERIES THAT FOCUS ON CONTEMPORARY FIRST NATIONS, MÉTIS, INUIT & INDIGENOUS CULTURE

ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Festival (Toronto)
The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival celebrates the latest works by Indigenous peoples at the forefront of innovation in film, video, radio, and new media. Each fall, imagineNATIVE presents a selection of the most compelling and distinctive Indigenous works from around the globe.”  More info…

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Planet Indigenus (Toronto)
Since 2004, Planet Indigenus, in partnership with Brantford, Ontario’s Woodland Cultural Centre, has explored such ancestry and cultures through Indigenous artists. Through a 10-day, international, multidisciplinary arts festivals attended by over 700,000 people… Planet IndigenUS has raised public awareness, broken stereotypes and fostered a cross-cultural dialogue between Canadians.”  More info…

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Woodlands Cultural Centre (Brantford)
“The Woodland Cultural Centre was established in October 1972 under the direction of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians upon the closure of the Mohawk Institute Residential School. The Centre originally began its focus on collecting research and artifacts to develop its library and museum collections.  More info…

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Installation in art gallery
Installation by Roland Souliere at Urban Shaman. Image from www.rolandsouliere.com.

Urban Shaman (Winnipeg)
“Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art is a nationally recognized leader in Aboriginal arts programming and one of the foremost venues and voices for Aboriginal art in Canada.”  More info…

Young naked females wrapped in Hudson Bay blanket holding a teddy bear between the two of them.
Blanket 1 by Keesic Douglas part of Close Encounters exhibit at Urban Shaman. Image from www.artsforall.ca.

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Installation in gallery of patchwork flags and dolls
Work by Natalie Ball at Grunt Gallery. Image from www.grunt.ca.

Grunt Gallery (Vancouver)
Grunt is an artist-run centre founded in 1984 in Vancouver, BC, with a vision to be an international renowned artist-run centre furthering contemporary art practice. Through the exploration of our diverse Canadian cultural identity we offer innovative public programming in exhibitions, performances, artist talks, publications and special projects.” More info…

Gallery room full of canvases painted in West Coast art style
Work by Andrew Dexel at Grunt Gallery. Image from gruntarchives.tumblr.com.

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AbTec (Montreal)
AbTeC is a network of academics, artists and technologists whose goal is to define and share conceptual and practical tools that will allow us to create new, Aboriginally-determined territories within the web-pages, online games, and virtual environments that we call cyberspace.”  More info…


Work by Skawennati Fragnito of AbTec. Image from www.facebook.com/skawennati.

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Large painting by Isaac Narciso Weber of OCADU’s Indigenous Visual Culture Program, exhibit as part of  Planet Indigenus Festival. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Indigenous Visual Culture Program @ OCAD U (Toronto)
The program prepares students to engage in complex and evolving global discourses in Aboriginal history, art history and contemporary art practice across a range of expressions, material and media.”  More info…


Work in foreground by Tara Bursey from OCADU’s Indigenous Visual Culture Program, exhibit as part of Harbourfront Centre’s Planet Indigenus Festival. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

CURRENT & RECENT EXHIBITIONS CONTEMPORARY FIRST NATIONS, MÉTIS, INUIT & INDIGENOUS CULTURE

Logo that says Indigenous And Urban

Indigenous & Urban @ The Museum of Civilization (Ottawa)
OPENING TODAY!
“Live. Engaging. Diverse. Inspired and challenged by contemporary urban life,Canadian Indigenous artists address issues of identity and stereotypes through humorous and thought-provoking works. Indigenous and Urban is a summer-long program featuring visual and media arts, music, dance, film, readings and interactive workshops.”  More info…

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IN THE FLESH (Ottawa)
“In the Flesh examines the hierarchical relationship between humans and animals within a cultural and museological context, and investigates colonial politics, as well as issues of gender as they relate to the mastery of the natural world…In the Flesh grants us visual access to nature while calling into question the politics of representation. As the guest catalogue essayist Ariel Smith notes: “With In the Flesh, the Ottawa Art Gallery participates in a city-wide indigenization of gallery spaces to coincide with the National Gallery of Canada’s Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art exhibition. This indigenization does not exist within a vacuum, and we must reflect on the ways in which these acts of claiming space respond to and are in conversation with both the current and historical politics of Indigenous cultural sovereignty.””
More info…

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Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art (Ottawa)
CURRENTLY RUNNING UNTIL SEPT 2, 2013
“Sakahàn—meaning “to light [a fire]” in the language of the Algonquin peoples—brings together more than 150 works of recent Indigenous art by over 80 artists from 16 countries, celebrating the National Gallery’s ongoing commitment to the study and appreciation of Indigenous art. This exhibition is the first in an ongoing series of surveys of Indigenous art. The artworks in Sakahàn provide diverse responses to what it means to be Indigenous today. Through their works, the artists engage with ideas of self-representation to question colonial narratives and present parallel histories; place value on the handmade; explore relationships between the spiritual, the uncanny and the everyday; and put forward highly personal responses to the impact of social and cultural trauma. The artworks range from video installations to sculptures, drawings, prints, paintings, performance art, murals and other new, site-specific projects created specifically for this exhibition.”  More info…


Cover of Sakahan Catalogue. Image from www.amazon.com.

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Border Cultures Part One: homes, land (Windsor)
2013

“Border Cultures: Part One (homes, land) brings together artists working locally and nationally with those exploring these issues in Ireland, Mexico, Palestine to list a few. Using drawing and printmaking, sculpture and photography, video and sound-based installations, artists in this exhibition develop nuanced critiques and perspectives on questions of nationhood, citizenship and identity in the border-lands” More Info…


Installation by Dylan Miner. Image by Frank Piccolo on wcontemporaryart.wordpress.com.

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Contemporary Aboriginal art in a large gallery space with white wallsInstallation view of Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture at The Power Plant, Toronto, December 2012 – May 2013. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.

Beat Nation (Toronto)
2013
Beat Nation describes a generation of artists who juxtapose urban youth culture with Aboriginal identity to create innovative and unexpected new works that reflect the current realities of Aboriginal peoples today. ”  More info…

Contemporary Aboriginal art in a large gallery space with white walls
Installation view of Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture at The Power Plant, Toronto, December 2012 – May 2013. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.

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Poster for Fashionality featuring the work of Dana Claxton.

Fashionality @ The McMichael (Kleinberg)
2012
“Fashionality” is a newly coined term that refers to the visual culture and semiotics of dress and adornment. Combining the words “fashion,” “personality,” and “nationality,” it reflects the interplay between clothing, identity, and culture.”  More info…


Poster for Fashionality featuring the work of KC Adams.

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Art work by Luke Parnell. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Not So Fast | NSF (Toronto)
2012
“Objects tell a story and reveal a history through the way they are made. In the current state of late-capitalism, value is often measured in terms of speed and efficiency. NOT SO FAST | NSF invites a reconsideration of time and place to present different kinds of value. This exhibition brings together works by seven Indigenous artists who address the many products and by-products of consumer society.”  More info…


Work by Tania Willard. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

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AboDIGITAL (Kelowna)
2012
“In aboDIGITAL, Mi’kmaw artist Jordan Bennett examines the interface of audio-visual technologies and the internet with his First Nations heritage. Bennett’s art deftly blends such seemingly disparate elements as Mi’kmaq worldview, hip hop culture, ceremonial practice and graffiti aesthetics, creating dynamic works that express the fluidity, vitality and continuity of Aboriginal cultures in the present.More info…

Painting of a google search with the words "why are native americans' and the resulting drop down of resultsPainting by Jordan Bennett. Image from www.alternatorcentre.com.

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Artist Sonny Assu with Decolonize Me curator Heather Igloliorte.

Decolonize Me (Ottawa)
2011
“Decolonize Me features six contemporary Aboriginal artists whose works challenge, interrogate and reveal Canada’s long history of colonization in daring and innovative ways. Deliberately riffing on the title of Morgan Spurlock’s film, the pop-cultural phenomenon Super Size Me (2004), the exhibition’s title emphasizes the importance of recognizing the role of the individual within larger discussions of shared colonial histories and present-day cultural politics.” More info…


Decolonize Me show at Bishop University. Image from www.ubishops.ca.

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Image from www.ago.net.

Inuit Modern @ The AGO (Toronto)
2011
The exhibition considers how the Inuit have coped with and responded to the swift transition from a traditional lifestyle to one marked by the disturbing complexities of globalization and climate change.  More info

& The Inuit Modern Symposium
“Inuit artists and thinkers reflected on this statement during a three-part online symposium..
. It explored the questions: What are the current issues affecting Inuit art today and how has modernity complicated life in Canada’s far North? How has Inuit art changed the way that Canada and Inuit are viewed internationally?”  More on…

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Image from the cover of Close Encounters Catalogue.

Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years
2011
“A banner project for Winnipeg Cultural Capital of Canada 2010 Program comprised of a large-scale exhibition focused on presenting Indigenous art from around the world. This is an incredibly important show, featuring the work of a number of renowned Canadian Indigenous artists, complemented by some of the most innovative and engaging work drawn from Indigenous populations across the globe” More info…


Work by Pudlo Pudlat. Image from www.closeencounters.ca.

Aboriginal dance troupe performing outside on hills at night with city of Toronto as backdropKaha:wi Dance Theatre performing The Honouring at Fort York, Toronto. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

FREE & EASY: Luminato Concert Series at David Pecaut Square Toronto

Woman playing guitar and singing on stage

K-os & Serena Ryder – snapping some great Canadian musicians. Home-grown talent at its best!

MIXED BAG MAG is pleased to showcase our talented guest photographer Ardean Peter’s coverage of some this year’s performances at the Luminato Hub. Out under the open air and starry skies (Luminato seems to have the Gods & Goddesses of weather on their side) each year you can enjoy music from all over – the most popular Italian rapper to the most acclaimed Sufi singers from Azerbaijan…it’s a definite trip. And best feature? It’s FREE so hit the Hub from 8 pm to 11 pm each night until this Sunday for some unique beats.

Man singing into microphone on stage

What Ardean has to say about Luminato:

“It is a treat to be able to see such talented and successful Canadian artists – and in a free venue! This past weekend I loved getting a chance to madly sing along to my favorite K-os songs and re-acquaint myself with Serena Ryder – a spectacular and genuine performer.

A bonus though was experiencing these artists amongst a diverse group of spectators – from age to ethnic background. Everyone was there to enjoy great live music and during the course of the night, I even connected with a new friend. Saturday night I found myself back at ‘The Hub’ for the Maxi Priest concert where I busted a move or two to the pop-reggae tunes.

I’m looking forward to attending a few more  performances at David Pecaut Square before the festival closes this Sunday but next year I plan to add even more of Luminato’s events to my schedule so I can experience and enjoy everything that Luminato has to offer!”

More of Ardeans beautiful work can be found at www.mynameisardean.com.
Follow Ardean on:
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Man singing into microphone on stage along with breakdancers and other man playing guitar
Man singing on stage with audience looking on
Woman playing guitar and singing on stage with her band in the background
Woman playing guitar and singing on stage with man walking behind her
Woman singing on stage
Woman playing guitar and singing on stage
K-os & Serena Ryder performing for Luminato 2013. All images by Ardean Peters.

Coming up this week at the Luminato Festival Hub:

WEDNESDAY: Patricia Cano (8 pm) & Danse Lhasa Danse (9 pm)

THURSDAY: L’Hsao (8 pm) & Patrick Watson (9 pm)

FRIDAY: Toronto Symphony Orchestra

SATURDAY:Kevin Breit (8 pm) & Roseanne Cash (9 pm)

SUNDAY: Garifuna Collective (2 pm) & Danny Michel (3 pm)

Can’t make it to the out? Each performance will be livestreamed on each artists’ event page.

Crowd lying on ground with bolsters behind their heads and headphones on listening to performer.
Large screen on stage with hands of DJ spinning records and performing
Crowd enjoying the Kid Koala performance at Luminato 2013. All images by Ardean Peters.

 

 

LUMINATO ART SPACES: What’s On This Week

Torso of woman in white address with X painted on the front in dripping paint. Another woman in white outfit in the back with paint strokes on her outfit.

LUMINATO –  great art installations that engage the public making the audience part of the art.

This collection of images is from last year’s Luminato exhibit Soon is Now with Canadian artist Corno.

Corno transformed Airship37 in Toronto’s Distillery District with an intense shock of colour that felt like a crayon box had exploded. Fun, random, spontaneous and indicative of the unexpected you can always expect to find with Luminato.

Model in high heels and dress with X painted on the front. Artist behind her painting the back of her dress.


MIXED BAG MAG recommends checking out:


Image from Luminato.

MAI – Prototype
21st Century Startist Marina Abramović has landed in our city.

“MAI will be the largest expression of what the artist calls the Marina Abramovic Method. Across a series of interlocking pavilions, audience members are guided through exercises and experiences based on Abramovic’s past work. Rather than creating the performance, Abramovic empowers the audience to craft their own experience, as participants don white lab coats and headphones, and disconnect from the outside world for approximately two hours.”  More here on Luminato’s website…

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Image from Luminato.

STOCKPILE
Ok. This sounds like fun!

“An interactive performance spectacle in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. Come one, come all to a life-sized arcade-style claw machine filled with useful objects donated by the community along with special surprises. As the artists themselves become the claw, see if you can manipulate them into delivering the prize you desire while contemplating this carnivalesque exchange of value and examining what winning and losing means to the collective.”  More here on Luminato’s website…

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Image from Luminato.

One Thousand Speculations
& this just sounds crazy!

“The largest mirror ball in the world will make Toronto dazzle and spin in its thousands of reflections for the duration of the Luminato Festival. I don’t think that any Torontonian will have seen David Pecaut Square in this kind of light. It will be sexy, seductive, exhilarating and will amaze anyone from 4 to 104 years old.”  More here on Luminato’s website…

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FOLLOW LUMINATO ON  – Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Google+Pinterest | Instagram and www.luminatofestival.com!

Female artist painting model in suit and large wig. Crowd watchs.
Female artist uses hair dryer to blow on the back of model's back where she has painted what looks like a peace sign.
Woman painting a large canvas with broad brush strokes. DJ spinning records in the background.
Model in suit, high heels and wig made like a hat smiles down at an old man looking up at her smiling.
Images of Luminato 2012 Corno’s Soon is Now by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

SCOTIABANK CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL 2013: Seeing as a Means to Understanding

Black and white photograph of woman's hand holding a photo of a man with her finger covering his face
Natalie Liconti, Untitled, 2012 for Learning to Look Exhibit

“Exploring the photographic medium as a way of seeing, this year’s Festival theme, Field of Vision, frames a series of primary exhibitions and public installations.”

What lies outside our own field of vision? From gender to sexual orientation; culture, race, place; nature vs the unnatural; the understanding of new technology, the experience of a physical disability…

…sometimes it takes truly seeing what is right in front of us in order to shift our focus.

As artists, photographers will manipulate light, context, and composition to suit the telling of a ‘Truth’.

They use photography to explore how best to let someone into a world they might not be aware exists to experience stories they may not be able to hear. Something about seeing can move people into believing. An image can authenticate an experience not just for the artist but for the viewer.

MIXED BAG MAG’s Recommendations for Contact 2013:

Janieta Eyre’s The Mute Book @ Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects & Constructing Mythologies @ UTAC Art Lounge

Black and white photograph of woman in costume made of bits of fabric sitting on an antique stool
Janieta Eyre, Mute Book 4, 2009 (image www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“From the age of 14 – 17, the Toronto-based photographer Janieta Eyre developed a disorder that made it impossible to speak. As a consequence, many people gave up attempting to converse with Eyre and instead behaved as if she did not exist. The imposed silence and isolation had a curious effect on the artist’s development: in her silence, she began to have strange thoughts and to wonder if she was, in fact, invisible.” Read more…

Photograph of woman in outfit with different pattersn and a background of many patterns.
Janieta Eyre, Burning Cake, from the series Motherhood, 2002 (imagewww.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

black strokeQueer Portraits at Gallery 44 & The Gladstone Hotel Art Bar
J.J. Levine, Rae, from the series Queer Portraits, 2012 (image www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“Using professional lighting and a medium-format film camera, Levine creates a studio within each home environment, positioning objects that appear within the frame. These settings explore private queer space as a realm for the development of community and the expression of genders and sexualities often marginalized within the public sphere.” Read more…


JJ Levine, Laurence, from the series Montreal Queer Portraits, 2012, C-Print (image www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

black stroke2Fik’s Unreleased @ Gallery West

2Fik, Picnic sur l’étang [Picnic on the swamp], 2009 (image www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“Unreleased explores the gap that can exist between a person’s sense of belonging within a culture, and the culture’s opinion of that person. In this work, 2Fik performs multiple visions of “self,” while exploring the positive and negative prejudices that accompany visual perceptions of the “other.” This exhibition presents a series of dramatic tableau photographs in which characters from different cultures meet and evolve.”  Read more…

black strokeCurators Sevan Injejikian and Annie Sakkab‘s Dislocations @ Riverdale Hub
Annie Sakkab, Projections – Ghosts of Dubai’s Boom, 2010 (image www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“Dislocations brings together artists who explore the tenuous relationship between identity and place, and who investigate how movement has become a mode of being in the world during an era of globalization.” Read more…

NOTE: If you would like to contribute to the Dislocations Exhibit funding campaign click here for their Indiegogo Campaign.

black strokeAkihiko Miyoshi’s The Distance Between @ Circuit Gallery

Akihiko Miyoshi, Abstract Photograph (112811g), 2011 (image www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“Deliberately referencing the constructed aesthetic of digital image-making—the pixel, the choice of red, green, or blue tape, and the surface/depth tension of altered focus—Miyoshi’s analogue self-portraits use metaphor to evoke a slew of contemporary questions about the status of the photographer/author and the referent/real in the digital age.” Read more…

NOTE: This exhibit closes May 11

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Meryl McMaster’s In-Between Worlds @ Katzman Kamen Gallery
Meryl McMaster, Aphoristic Currents, 2013 (image www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“In recent years, Meryl McMaster has travelled to remote landscapes on journeys that have helped her begin to understand her place in the natural world. These processes of self-discovery continue when McMaster returns to her studio and incorporates what she has learned into her art practice through the exploration of new themes. In-Between Worlds is an expression of one of these themes: McMasters bicultural Aboriginal-European heritage, which she views as a synergistic strength rather than a struggle between opposing forces.” Read more…

black strokeJessy Pesce’s Captured @ Galleria 814

Jessy Pesce, Up, 2012 (image www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“ The images have a surreal and ethereal quality that blurs the viewer’s concepts of space and reality. Pesce’s photographs depict both explicit and implicit narratives that investigate the idea of objectifying the female body.” Read more…

Contact runs until May 31st. See full list of exhibitions on the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival Website.

Follow along on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter @ContactPhoto.

Logo for Contact Film Festival round red dot on white background

CINEFRANCO: Not Your Average French Film Festival

Woman with face tattoos looking out from behind a red curtain

Founder Marcelle Lean’s special flair for creating a unique line-up for this Francophone film festival.

Cinefranco Logo Hailing from Morocco (via Paris then England onward to Canada) Toronto is fortunate that Marcelle Lean, Cinéfranco’s Artistic Director, decided to call this city home. Her experience of moving through life by crossing over continents is the reason she is able to curate Cinéfranco with a rich diversity that allows for a deeper and more encompassing experience of Francophone culture(s).

Woman in sunglasses with city of Toronto, lake and CN Tower behind her.
Cinéfranco Founder & Artistic Director Marcelle Lean. Image from www.tfo.org.

Poster for Moroccan Film Femme EcriteWith Cinéfranco’s programming she is not afraid to take chances, even including films that are not fully in French as in Saturday’s Femme Écrite, a Moroccan Production in Arabic with English subtitles.

“Naïm, a renowned anthropologist, wants to make a film on beautiful Mririda, a Berber poet and courtesan who mesmerizes him. At the brothel where she used to go, Naïm is struck by the beauty, the sensuous tattoos of young prostitute Adjou. He immediately feels bound in his flesh and soul to Adjou, a kind of mirror image to Mririda. Adjou’s brutal murder triggers a police investigation. In his desperate search for truth, Naïm sways between a world of imagination and reality.

Lazcen Zinoun is the conductor of a film composed like a five-movement opus framed by tribal rituals and practices like the mysterious, erotic tattooing of women. He sings the hymn of freedom for women to control their own bodies in a society still paralyzed by ancient codes. He films Fatym Layachi’s goddess-like body with the same poetry and lyricism as he does the sexual passion that enflames the lovers. 

A film steeped in poetry and luminous beauty tinged with Pasolini overtones!” (cited from www.cinefranco.com)

Along with Femme Écrite another MIXED BAG MAG pick for this year’s Cinéfranco is the festival closer Tango Libre a French / Luxembourgian / Belgian production in French and Spanish with English subtitles.

“JC, an ordinary prison guard, meets Alice at his weekly tango classes. Attracted by the sensual woman, he is surprised to see her visiting two prisoners: Fernand, her husband and Dominic, her lover, both cell mates. Furious to learn his wife tangoes with the prison guard, Fernand ventures to ask the Argentinian boss for dancing lessons. The tango works its passionate magic: a breath of freedom sweeps the prison and the unusual quartet of lovers dangerously watched by Antonio, Alice’s teenage son.

Prisoners outside in a prison yard dancing the steps of the tangoDirector Frédéric Fonteyne (…) has crafted an intense, intelligent and affecting character piece that never quite goes where you expect. The always watchable Lopez is on top form, but the film’s real revelation is star and co-writer Paulicevich, whose Alice is tough, tender, and sometimes mesmerizingly unknowable” (Jonathan Romney) (cited www.cinefranco.com)

Whatever your taste (or language) Cinéfranco offers something for everyone!

Film Poster for Tango Libre

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