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Paris: Baras / Les Roses d’Acier by Nick Kozak | FEATURED SHOW – CONTACT PHOTO FESTIVAL 2016

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.

For hundreds of years, Paris has attracted migrants from around the world. Full of hope, these newcomers arrive searching for better lives; however, they face insurmountable barriers when trying to secure legal employment and housing. Nick Kozak’s photographs document the lives of two such groups, each series presented on a different floor of the Gladstone Hotel:

The Baras Collective has squatted in a former employment centre in the Parisian suburb of Bagnolet for over a year. Consisting of more than one hundred West African male migrants, this group’s members share a similar history: after fleeing the Libyan civil war in 2011, they travelled to Italy by boat and obtained residency before migrating to France in search of employment.

The Steel Roses, known as Les Roses d’Acier, is a group of seven Chinese women. After giving their life savings to agencies who had arranged their travel from China, these women learned that they are not legally permitted to work in France. They turned to prostitution in order to pay debts, sending money to their families back home who are unaware of their situation. They work to defend the rights of all Chinese sex workers in the Parisian neighbourhood of Belleville.

Nick Kozak (b. 1982) is a freelance photojournalist whose current work is focused on the issues of community and identity, their inseparability and constant state of flux. He explores communities that are displaced, marginalized, and/or those carving out new social spaces out of necessity or a desire to redefine a collective identity. His curiosity is combined with a keen eye, innate sensitivity and desire for greater social awareness. By nurturing relationships with communities and placing a great importance on learning from the people he photographs, Nick is able to create intimate pictures that tell informative stories.

Nick’s work has been supported by the Toronto Arts Council and exhibited in Canada, the United Kingdom, China, Poland, Bangladesh, and the United States. Nick’s editorial clients include the Toronto Star, Maclean’s Magazine, Toronto Life, Postmedia, Report on Business Magazine, BBC Travel, La Presse, and Toronto Community News.  He has had major commissioned projects with Facing History and Ourselves, the Atkinson Foundation, and Evergreen City Works.

Join us on May 5th (7pm-10pm) in the 3rd + 4thd Floor Gallery for the opening of Paris: Baras / Les Roses d’Acier


Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is an annual event in May with well over 1500 Canadian and international artists and photographers exhibiting at more than 175 venues throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Founded as a not-for-profit organization in 1997 and now a charitable organization, the Festival is devoted to celebrating, and fostering the art and profession of photography, through a diverse range of programmes.

As a leading proponent of photography, the Festival increases exposure and recognition for local, Canadian and international artists and is committed to advancing knowledge, creativity and innovation in photography. It stimulates excitement and discussion among a diverse audience that has grown to over 1.8 million. CONTACT is the largest photography event in the world, and a premiere cultural event in Canada.