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We are jazzed to be showcasing Paris: Baras/Les Roses d’Acier by photojournalist Nick Kozak for Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2016!
Nick will exhibit a series of photographs that document two migrant groups living in the outskirts of Paris, Baras: a collective of more than 100 West African male migrants who fled the Libyan civil war in 2011; and Les Roses d’Acier: a group of seven Chinese women who gave their life savings to pursue a new life in France but were forced to turn to prostitution in order to pay debts. They now work to defend the rights of all Chinese sex workers in the Parisian neighbourhood of Belleville.
His photos capture the hope these newcomers have as they arrive searching for better lives, and the consequential barriers they face when trying to secure legal employment and housing. Paris: Baras/Les Roses d’Acier will occupy the 3rd and 4th floor gallery spaces of the Gladstone Hotel from April 30- May 30, 2016.
Nick was nice enough to take a short break from preparing for his show to chat with us about storytelling, social justice and his upcoming exhibition!
As a trained photographer, there are many avenues you could have taken–why photojournalism?
Well actually the most formal training I received as a photographer was during my Photography MA in Dalian, China. The course had a focus on photojournalism, documentary and travel photography. At that point I knew that I wanted to take photographs that tell important stories about the people and places I visit, whether that be in my own backyard or abroad. Like many I was inspired by the photographs in National Geographic and dreamed of taking photographs like that.
You’ve shot a wide array of stories for the Toronto Star from 2011-15 – what made you go international?
I grew up going international. I’ve been lucky to travel my whole life, I was born along the way, so to speak. It is my intention to continue to leave my place of comfort to explore places and communities that are less known to me. I’m happy I got to spend six months in Paris as it really shook things up and got me living in and really looking at a new place.
Your series for CONTACT, Paris: Baras/Les Roses d’Acier, take on social justice issues surrounding immigration and race. Did you search out stories related to these issues?
I think that as an outsider trying to make things work in Paris, I naturally saw myself thinking a lot about the experiences of newcomers, migrants, immigrants and refugees in the French capital. I think that living in Paris, especially outside of the really touristy and rich areas, you can’t help but be faced by issues of race and what role it plays in today’s French society.
Did your coverage of the Charlie Hebdo attacks for Maclean’s inspire Paris: Baras/Les Roses d’Acier?
The events surrounding Charlie Hebdo, terrible as they were, were monumental and happened to take place at about the midpoint of my time in Paris. To answer the question; yes and no; I had been working on connecting with the story of les Roses d’Acier for some time. I’ll say that the solidarity around Charlie Hebdo and what was happening in Place de la République definitely got me interested in demonstrations, or as the French say; manifestations. That’s how I found Baras, I started looking at a website dedicated to public demonstrations and community events in and around Paris.
What brought you to the Parisian suburb of Bagnolet and the neighbourhood of Belleville?
Well my girlfriend found us a place not too far from Belleville at Télégraphe métro station and I walked through the neighbourhood in the first few days after arriving. I found myself wondering about the groups of young and old Chinese women standing along the main boulevard. As for Bagnolet, it is a neighbouring suburb to the 19th arrondissement where we lived. Our apartment was just a couple of métro stations from the Périphérique and Les Lilas, south of which is Bagnolet. I noted the date and time of a demonstration listed online and walked over that day.
What are your favourite shots of each of these groups?
I would say that my favourite two shots for the 3rd floor of Paris: Baras / Les Roses d’Acier are Tairu Di Sam on a tram to a Ghana vs. Mali football match and Bamba Kone prepares Janzanbour to share. Apart from these being what I would deem good pictures, there is the personal experience that led to those moments. That is priceless. When I look at the story of les Roses d’Acier, I’m most taken by the portrait of Aying, there is something in her gaze into the camera that stays with me.
Why do you think photography is an important medium to tell such stories?
Firstly, to me good storytelling images come about from the desire to share in experiences, learn and document people. Photography has always captured my imagination as the most direct and efficient way of telling a story. A photograph provides time for reflection on one specific moment and event. If powerful enough an image can stay with the viewer for a long time.
What are your hopes for this show?
First and foremost I hope that the show does its job of telling the stories of two very different groups of newcomers in Paris. Storytelling should always be the basis for our work as photojournalists or documentary photographers. Exposure of my work allows for more attention to the stories.
Are you stoked to be showing at the Gladstone?
In one word YES! In a few words, I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to show my images in a place as frequented as the Gladstone Hotel. More eyes means more attention to the stories.
What and where will you be shooting next?
I hope to return to the remote community of Fort Albany First Nation in Northern Ontario this summer. I am also hopeful that I will make my third trip to Nairobi, Kenya to continue my project No Idling in the informal settlements of Kibera.
Check out the opening reception of Paris: Baras / Les Roses d’Acier on May 5 at 7pm at the Gladstone Hotel, Toronto’s den for art, culture and participation.
As part of the featured exhibitions of Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2016, the Gladstone Hotel is pleased to present Paris: Baras / Les Roses d’Acier by Nick Kozak and We Shall See by Ian Willms. Both shows will have opening receptions on May 5, 2016 from 7–10 p.m. and will run throughout May (RSVP on Facebook here!)
We Shall See is the series of photographs that Ian Willms initiated while visiting his father in the hospital after a catastrophic accident while on a motorcycle tour of South Africa. The images began as Instagram posts documenting the details of their daily routine, created in an effort to visually communicate and cope with the emotional struggle in facing his father’s traumatic injuries. The series quickly grew to comprise more than 200 photographs.
The result is an emotional and compelling portrait of grief, resilience and the beauty of life and family. We interviewed Ian Willms to learn more about his experience documenting and sharing We Shall See.
Was it instinctive to start taking photos of your father after his accident?
Taking photos is part of my daily routine. I shot the day before I heard of the accident, on the way to the hospital and nearly everyday since then. While it was my instinct to shoot, I was at first unsure about showing the images to anyone whom I wasn’t close with.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was obviously feeling a whole lot of things, but it was too much to make sense of. It was like a dense fog inside my head at all times. Photographing at that time allowed me to keep track of our experiences and keep them in context. It also gave me something to do that was technical, which served as a much-needed grounding presence at a highly turbulent time.
You’ve already been sharing the collection on Instagram to a massive and engaged audience. How has photography been a tool to connect others to your experience?
I’m not so sure it was the photography that built that following. I think it was the honesty of the posts. I didn’t hold back very much in terms of what I shot and what I wrote about. In the few moments that I hesitated to photograph something, my father told me to keep going. He said to me in those moments, “at least something good can come of all this.”
Loss and grief are obstacles that impact nearly everyone in this world and we usually deal with that struggle in private. It can be an extremely isolating experience. Being able to relate to someone else while you’re in that place can be a big help.
Can you speak to the resilience that shines through in your series? There’s one picture that really comes to mind, where your dad is lying in his hospital bed giving the finger. The caption says, “His sense of humour.”
My dad was the one who made the choice to endure all the pain and suffering. He made the greatest effort to be strong and just live. All I could do was be there and remind him that he was loved.
The funny moments in the hospital were like the most precious treasure. He and I lived for them. If we were able to smile or even laugh about something, we would really savour that feeling and try to build on it. Most of the time was dreadfully depressing and we both knew it. Sometimes he’d tell me he wanted to die, but other times we would make grand plans for the future and how he was going to get the most out of life without the ability to walk.
Have the photos helped you and your family through the grieving process?
I feel that grief is a really personal thing. It’s different for everyone, no matter how close they are to the loss. So, I feel like I can only really speak for myself when I say that I’m not too sure.
After he died, I photographed the funeral and the days immediately afterward with my family, then I began to recoil from shooting the project. I was in shock for about a month before losing him really began to sink in. It felt like descending into a dark lake where you couldn’t see the bottom. I remember feeling the grief pile on more with each passing day. It was slow at first and then it sped up at an alarming rate. I spent a couple months just maintaining a basic level of self-care. I didn’t work at all. I just saw friends and got out as much as possible. It was summertime, which helped a lot. At that time, shooting We Shall See meant confronting my grief and I just wasn’t ready for that yet.
After a little while, I began to notice all of the heartfelt comments on the Instagram feed from people I had never met. Most were supportive toward my family and I, which meant a lot, but I was most moved by those who chose to share their own experiences with grief. A lot of people told me that my posts were helping them to deal with their own losses. Several people told me that my project had helped to get them out of a years-long slump so they could finally get on with their lives. I had never seen my photos help others in such a direct way before. That revelation did a lot to help me to get my shit back together and start working again. Once I felt a bit stronger, I began to photograph and write about my grief process on Instagram.
I post a lot more infrequently now than I used to, but that feels natural. Life is starting to become more manageable again. I’m so grateful that my work was able to help all these people that I’ve never met and then they returned that same gift to me when I needed it the most. It really feels like my dad got his wish: something good did come from all this.
What was the process like getting the show together?
I’ve spent most of my effort on the printing process. I wanted a specific look to the final photographs that mimicked the way it feels to deal with trauma. My goal from the beginning was to produce a print, with a floating, glowing, somewhat obscured and textured quality. I spent a lot of time calling and testing out print shops all around the GTA before finally finding something that I’m quite happy with.
As I type this, I’m in the curating stage. There are several prints of various sizes and paper types, stuck to the walls of my loft right now and an edit of smaller prints that I’m working out for the show. It’s a process that I work on in small bits and keep coming back to.
Natalie MacNamara has been lending me her sage advise about the process and that’s been a huge help. If I’m completely on my own with projects like this, I tend to go off on tangents and get separated from the essence of what I’m trying to do. Natalie has already reeled me in a couple times and kept me on track.
It’s extremely difficult to edit photographs that are so personal. It makes you want to communicate every little bit of what happened, which is a trap. When you try to say everything, nothing ends up being heard.
I have been going through some of the archives for the first time since I first shot them and it’s been pretty intense. I last about 15 minutes before needing to take a break. I have a large print on my wall right now with a bunch of magnets on it that spell “DO IT FOR HIM.” It’s a bit dramatic, but it works.
Ian Willms is a member of Boreal Collective and has been supported by Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. His work resides between photojournalism and contemporary photography. The indelible marks of passing time and the conflict of inevitable compromise are common threads that run throughout Willms’ longterm photo essays.
We here at Winter Stations wish to invite everyone to a special presentation series at the Gladstone Hotel. Preceding the official opening of the 2016 Winter Stations event, these presentations will serve as an introduction to the visionary winning designers and their works.
For those unfamiliar with the PechaKucha format of presentation: Each presenter will have 20 slides which they may use to aid in their presentation. Each of the 20 slides may be shown for only 20 seconds. In total, each presentation will run for around six and a half minutes.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m, with presentations starting at 7:00 p.m.
Learn more about Winter Stations at winterstations.com
Thursday Jan 21 – Sunday Jan 24, 2016
SPECIAL EVENTS DATES
Thursday: 6:30-8pm TO DO Keynote (Ballroom)
Friday: 10pm-2am H O T E L: KLAUS presents Tom Dixon at The Gladstone (Ballroom)
Saturday: 7-11pm Opening Reception Second Floor
10-late Love Design Party (Ballroom)
Sunday: 1-3pm TSA Ideas Forum (TO DO)
Saturday: 11am-6pm | 7pm-10pm (opening)
$10 general admission (per day)
$25 for school groups, must be booked with email@example.com.
$5 student day on Friday 22nd January (with proof of student id)
Come Up To My Room (CUTMR) was conceived in 2004 by Christina Zeidler and Pamila Matharu as a vehicle for experimentation and interaction within the fields of art and design. Acting as counterpoint to the Interior Design Show (IDS) and giving rise to the more recent Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO), CUTMR has since become a cornerstone of the Toronto alternative design scene. Over the years, CUTMR has featured the work of hundreds of artists and designers from Canada and abroad, and continuously challenged participants to push their everyday practice by offering a blank canvas upon which to explore new themes and ways of working.
Thirteen…an unlucky number for some, but not for CUTMR. This year’s event, the thirteenth edition, once again showcases the work of new and established artists, designers and collectives from Canada and the US. CUTMR encourages spatial exploration that engages our senses, our memories and our perceptions of reality. Framed within the backdrop of the historic Gladstone Hotel, CUTMR invites participants to inhabit three floors with site-specific, immersive installations that stimulate the imagination and encourage discussion and dialogue between contributors and visitors alike.
Coming from the fields of architecture and exhibition design, this year’s curators, Jana Macalik and Nuria Montblanch have reengaged with the heritage of CUTMR, focusing on the spatial sensory experiences and design as the medium. The designers have been encouraged to identifying discursive opportunities, altering perceptions of space and place. The inclusion of designers’ own identities within the experience of the exhibition affects narratives and is reflected in their use of interactive and tactile media. Thus, a space of discourse is created where multiple dialogues can begin to take place – between the hotel, the spaces and the people within.
CUTMR’16 FEATURED ARTISTS
The complete lineup of #CUTMR2016’s featured artists includes: Bruno Billio + Romar Johnson, Carl&Rose; Chiho Tokita; Chinedu Ukabam; F_RMlab; Galerie Youn; Iaboni Priftaj Design Associates; ialc; Interactive Arts; Invention Squad; Jessica Bromley Bartram; KLAUS by Nienkamper; Lamers Bramm Design / LBD; Mario Sabljak; Matt MacDonald; Michael Neville; Nicole Beno; Plus Farm Collective; [R]ed[U]x Lab; Shelter Bay; Ryerson Artspace presents Archestra; Sara Nickelson & Studio WOOLF; Susan Dobson & Simone Ferkul; TAXA WORK; Tom Dixon; The Racket Club; University of Waterloo School of Architecture / Prof. Elizabeth English and 3rd-year Architecture Students; Uufie; and Virginia Melnyk.
Come Up To My Room is Toronto’s biggest alternative art and design event, and it’s coming to the Gladstone for the 13th year in a row from Jan 21-24 (RSVP on our Facebook Page Here!) We’re inviting everyone to come inside the hotel’s storied suites and see them transformed by the vision of each artist/designer. It’s what the Gladstone is all about – collaboration, alchemy, trust + risk and community – in a full-building takeover inspired by art and design. Let’s get to know each artist and their vision, shall we?
Meet Susan Dobson and Simone Ferkul | Equivalents | Room 207
This immersive mixed-media installation, inspired by photographer Alfred Stieglitz’s series Equivalents, encourages visitors to linger and embrace the act of slow looking. The use of projection, reflection, and mirroring takes visitors on a journey through time and space, evoking perceptual and environmental awareness through the act of concealing and revealing.
Susan Dobson is a photo-based artist. She is best known for her photographs and installations, many focusing on the theme of urban and suburban landscape. Simone Ferkul is an interior designer. She is passionate about expanding her definition of design beyond the physical space to become more multidisciplinary in nature.
Come Up to My Room (CUTMR) was conceived in 2004 by Christina Zeidler and Pamila Matharu as a vehicle for experimentation and interaction within the fields of art and design. In it’s 13th year, new curators Jana Macalik and Nuria Montblanch have reengaged with the heritage of CUTMR, focusing on the spatial sensory experiences and design as the medium. #CUTMR2016 will be exhibiting on all four floors of the historical Gladstone Hotel from January 21st to 24th. More details about this year’s show and events Here!
RSVP on our Facebook Page Here!
Join our monthly avant-garde film series Early Monthly Segments for an intimate screening of 16mm films by Montreal’s Francois Miron and the late US artist Paul Sharits!
Now in its fifth year, Early Monthly Segments is a monthly film series named after an early film by Robert Beavers, and is inspired by the immediacy, vibrancy and experimentation found in that film. Programmed by Scott Berry, Chris Kennedy, and Kate MacKay this series features historical and contemporary avant-garde 16mm films in a salon-like setting at the Gladstone Art Bar in Toronto, Canada. In this relaxed context with refreshing beverages and food available, we hope to encourage a convivial atmosphere for engaged viewing and post-screening dialogue. We do not receive public funding for our programs. We pay artists from admissions.
Art Toronto Crashes the Gladstone Hotel’s Karaoke!
October 24th 2015 at the Gladstone Hotel
Art Toronto and the Gladstone present together an unexpected and daring evening – as the fair crashes the hotel’s karaoke night! Enjoy a riveting day at Art Toronto filled with lectures and panel discussions about modern and contemporary art or engage with artwork from some of the leading Canadian and international galleries.
When the fair closes head over to the Gladstone Hotel and revitalize yourself with the special Art Toronto prix fixe menu in the hotel’s cafe (4pm-10pm). Then proceed to the Melody Bar for an evening of live music (7-10pm), Marquee performances (by Fay Slift and more), specialty cocktails / craft brewed libations and Karaoke (10-2am)!
Internationally recognized as Canada’s favourite Boutique Art Hotel with 37 artist-designed hotel rooms, the Gladstone uniquely blends historical Victorian architecture with contemporary luxury, downtown culture and whole lot of art, making it an iconic Toronto hub for local and international travellers & artists alike.
Art Toronto is Canada’s international fair for modern and contemporary art. Held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre October 23-26th, with an Opening Night Preview in support of the Art Gallery of Ontario on October 22nd.
Artists, gallerists and art-lovers unite with Art Toronto and the Gladstone – for what will be a night to remember!
Special Art/TO Prix Fixe Menu (To feast your eyes on!)
Join us for a full night of installation art, performances, music and karaoke!
The Ballroom: 10 for 10th – Memory Lane Curated by Che Kothari
Anciently Heard (Hip Hop As Ancient Thought Transmission) is a spatial-acoustic installation that uses sound as a primary sculptural element. Hip Hop records are played extremely slow on modified turntables. At such playback speeds the music of the records is transformed, abstracted beyond recognition. Each turntable is amplified individually to compose a site-specific sound field.
Recorded history shows human expression (in the form of graffiti) as early as 39,900 years ago. Preceding this, humans used motion and dance, non-verbal utterance and tools to communicate and create. The movement that started in the Bronx in 1973, that has been named Hip Hop, tapped into the same energy that sparked early human creativity. Anciently Heard is an expression of reverence and respect for the lineage that starts with our ancestral artists and continues through the hip hop movement.
The wisdom embedded in these records, the kick and snare relationship, measured melodic repetition and variable verbal interaction, speaks to the fundamentals of human expression.
As Nas said in 1994 (Memory Lane, Illmatic) “I drop the ancient manifested Hiphop, straight off the block.”
Mani Mazinani is an artist whose work spans many media including video, film, photography, installation, painting, printmaking, multiples, sound and music (including composition, free improvisation and hip hop, under the name Scalez). Mazinani thinks about thinking, making works that record thought, transferring concentration. He directs attention to the nature of a particular medium, forging connections to philosophical traditions, in order to provide a platform for an aesthetic understanding and dialogue with the audience.
The 2nd Floor Gallery:
The Gladstone Hotel will be exhibiting “Being Scene”, a juried exhibition of mixed medium artworks created by members of Workman Arts on the second floor gallery.
“Being Scene” is a crosscultural portrait of the healing power of art in order to build a more respectful and realistic understanding of those recovering from mental illness and addiction.
As a special presentation for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, under the theme of Memory Lane the Gladstone and Workman Arts has partnered with Fado Performance Art Centre and established performance artist Irene Loughlin who will work with Workman Arts artists to create site specific performances. Short film “Happy Days Are Here Again” created by Annette Seip will be installed within the exhibition space. The film depicts artist Barbara Greene Mann animated within her outlandish mixed media works.
In conjunction with Workman Art’s exhibition “Being Scene” at the Gladstone Hotel, with collaborative performances led by Irene Loughlin.
Melody Bar + Cafe:
Live Music and Karaoke in the our Melody Bar makes the perfect pit stop on your art-trek down Queen Street. and/or drinks, eats and laughs in our Cafe. Both equal Nuit Blanche Merriment you don’t want to miss! 😉
Ghost is a seven by seven foot piece of bed linen, with the word GHOST hand embroidered in white and clear sequins in its center. Or more precisely, the negative space around the word GHOST is embellished with sequins. Alluding to the death bed and the winding-sheet, and through the sequins‚ material association with fashion and glamour, GHOST seeks to conjure the tragic atmosphere surrounding the premature deaths of gay men from AIDS since the 1980s‚ as well as the strange twilight that those of us who survive occupy.
Andrew McPhail is a Canadian artist based in Hamilton Ontario. His craft- and text-based work configures ephemeral materials such as band aids, Kleenex, disposable gloves and other textile related items into installations and performance-based gestures that seek to describe the fragility, pathos and humour of our existence, often referencing his experiences as a person living with HIV.
Curated by Helena Frei & Chris Mitchell, Hard Twist 10 Memory winds its way through textiles, a constant thread that runs through the earliest archaeological fragments, the latest experimental synthetics and everything in between. Textiles hold memory, recall memory, record – and occasionally obscure – memory. In some recent incarnations they even have memory. Opening reception on September 10th 7-10pm on the 3rd and 4th floors galleries. On view August 27, 2015 to December 27, 2015 on the 3rd and 4th floors of the hotel.