Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill, Braided Grass

Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill, Braided Grass, 2013. Inkjet print. Overall: 61 x 91 cm. Purchase, Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, with funds from Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill. 2021/72.

We Are Story: The Canada Now Photography Acquisition

Opens January 28, 2023

Admission is always FREE for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass Holders & Visitors 25 and under. Learn more.

Located on Level 1 in galleries 128 and 129.

Dawit L. Petros, Act of Recovery (Part II)

Dawit L. Petros, Act of Recovery (Part II) (detail), 2016. Archival pigment print. Overall: 50.8 x 66 cm. Purchase, Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, with funds from Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Dawit L. Petros. 2021/50.

Louie Palu, Afghan and Canadian soldiers in a trench mark their position with purple smoke during a drone strike on insurgents nearby, Panjwa’i District, Kandahar Province

Louie Palu, Afghan and Canadian soldiers in a trench mark their position with purple smoke during a drone strike on insurgents nearby, Panjwa’i District, Kandahar Province, June 17, 2010. Pigment print. Overall: 50.8 x 61 cm. Purchase, Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, with funds from Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Louie Palu. 2021/57.


EXHIBITION OVERVIEW

We Are Story: The Canada Now Photography Acquisition brings together ten artists who showcase the vitality and range of contemporary Canadian photography. Featuring recent works by asinnajaq, Raymond Boisjoly, Aaron Jones, Laurie Kang, Robert Kautuk, Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill, Sanaz Mazinani, Jalani Morgan, Louie Palu and Dawit L. Petros, this exhibition is curated by AGO Curatorial Fellow Marina Dumont-Gauthier with Sophie Hackett, AGO Curator, Photography.

The works, all new to the AGO Collection, were purchased through the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, conceived in 2020 by Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky and gallery owner Nicholas Metivier in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on artists across the country.

The AGO is grateful for the generous support of a Photography Fellowship provided by the Schulich Foundation.
 


ABOUT THE ARTISTS

asinnajaq

asinnajaq is an Inuk multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, writer and curator from Inukjuak, Nunavik. Currently based in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal), she studied filmmaking at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As the daughter of celebrated filmmaker Jobie Weetaluktuk and Professor Carol Rowan, she grew up immersed in storytelling. Throughout her multidisciplinary practice, asinnajaq weaves together narratives of land, water and Inuit histories. She advocates for the environment, engaging with local communities and disseminating Inuit culture through art.

Raymond Boisjoly

Raymond Boisjoly is an Indigenous artist of Haida and Québécois descent who lives and works in Vancouver. He earned his BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and his MFA from the University of British Columbia. With photography at the core of his practice, Boisjoly employs various imaging technologies to reinterpret existing work. Using scanners, photocopiers and inkjet printers, he transforms archival film footage, pop culture content and everyday objects. Through his artistic interventions, Boisjoly interrogates the way popular media situates Indigenous art and artists within a colonial context. By reworking the "ready-made" object, Boisjoly offers a new a new lens through which the viewer can investigate these everyday items.

Aaron Jones

Canadian artist Aaron Jones lives and works in Toronto. Jones combines experimental photography and sourced images to create collages that are reflective of his own life and upbringing. The image sources − often culled from his childhood home or from friends − range from National Geographic and Sports Illustrated magazines to Black-owned publications such as Essence, as well as encyclopedias and educational texts. Jones actively looks for Black individuals in the media he mines, finding new and distinct ways to build characters and spaces that reflect his environment.

Laurie Kang

Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist Laurie Kang holds a BFA in photography from Concordia University, Montreal, and an MFA from Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College, New York. She creates installations that concern the body and the forces that shape it. Drawing on biology, feminist theory and even science-fiction, Kang's work reveals the body as a process. Kang says that her work is "…so much about setting up situations for change. We are porous beings, we are always in a state of becoming in relation to other bodies and environments around us." She draws on her Korean heritage, often working with materials that shaped her upbringing. Kang alters, elevates and preserves found materials in thought-provoking ways.

Robert Kautuk

Robert Kautuk is a photographer based in Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), Nunavut. He uses a digital SLR camera and drones to capture spectacular views of the Canadian Arctic and his community. With this technology, Kautuk can capture rarely seen moments, activities and landscapes. His work foregrounds Inuit self-determination, and documents, preserves and celebrates traditional knowledge. He has worked as a photographer and researcher for organizations and projects such as the Ittaq Heritage and Research Centre and is a driving force behind the Clyde River Knowledge Atlas. This is a digital platform that documents and records traditional knowledge, while also encouraging Inuit community-led research.

Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill

Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill is a Vancouver-based Cree and Métis artist and writer living on unceded Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh territory. She grew up immersed in Indigenous storytelling and literature. Working in mixed media, including photography and sculpture, Hill examines the function of public spaces. Who claims and uses these spaces? How do we navigate issues of land access and ownership? She asks: "Can Indigenous artists ever make public art that doesn't displace them?" Hill is a member of BUSH gallery, an Indigenous artist collective. The collective seeks to dismantle Western-centric models of artmaking and criticism in favour of Indigenous teachings and practices.

Sanaz Mazinani

Sanaz Mazinani is an Iranian-born multidisciplinary artist, curator and educator based in Toronto. She holds an MFA from Stanford University and a BFA from the Ontario College of Art & Design. Working with photography, sculpture and large multimedia installations, she reflects upon digital culture in her art, and asks how image circulation affects ideas of representation and perception. By exploring pattern, repetition and Islamic ornamentation, she aims to politicize image distribution. Mazinani's unique visual language invites viewers to critically reflect and rethink how we see.

Jalani Morgan

Jalani Morgan is a first-generation Canadian cultural anthropologist and photographer based in Toronto. His body of work ranges from reportage to formal studio portraits. Morgan is the photo editor for the West End Phoenix, an independent, non-profit community newspaper known for its diverse storytelling. He also produces commissioned editorial works for news organizations, magazines, and brands, including The Globe and Mail, BBC News, VICE, Maclean's, Nike and Converse. Morgan's personal dedication to chronicling Black life − in both a Canadian context and a larger African diasporic context − underscores his approach to photography. Morgan's connection to his subjects is evident throughout his multifaceted practice.

Louie Palu

Canadian documentary filmmaker and photographer Louie Palu examines socio-political issues, such as war, in his work. For over 30 years, he has explored human rights conflicts, poverty and strife, both nationally and globally. Born in Canada to Italian immigrant parents who witnessed the violence of the Second World War, Palu grew up hearing their stories of trauma and poverty. These stories helped shape his voice as a documentary photographer. To this day, Palu has created 12 series that examine the humanity within conflict. His photographs challenge the stereotypes associated with conflict photography, as he affords his subjects with agency. His work also draws on the tension between the photograph as a document and as an art object.

Dawit L. Petros

Dawit L. Petros is an Eritrean-born, Canadian-raised, Chicago and Montreal-based artist. He spent his formative years in Ethiopia and Kenya before settling in Saskatchewan with his family in the 1980s. These experiences of migration helped shape his artistic practice. Through his work, Petros investigates the entanglements of colonialism and modernism that bind Africa and Europe − from both a historical and contemporary point of view. He works across a range of media, including sculpture, video, sound and installation, but his core medium is photography. His photographs raise questions about displacement, identity and the transnational experience of cultural negotiation.

 


ARTWORKS FROM THE EXHIBITION

asinnajaq, where you go i follow, Inkjet print on poly-sheer fabric and vinyl lettering

asinnajaq, where you go i follow, 2020. Inkjet print on poly-sheer fabric and vinyl lettering. Overall: 246.4 x 304.8 cm. Purchase, with funds from the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © asinnajaq. Photo courtesy The Shell Projects. 2022/30.

We Are Story - asinnajaq
Raymond Boisjoly, Lucky X Lager 8, Inkjet print on vinyl and grommets

Raymond Boisjoly, Lucky X Lager 8, 2012-16. Inkjet print on vinyl and grommets. Overall: 182.9 × 121.9 cm. Purchase, with funds from the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Raymond Boisjoly. 2021/104.

We Are Story - Boisjoly
Aaron Jones, Holding my Grandmother’s Oranges, Collage: chromogenic prints, mixed media, magazine, and newsprint.

Aaron Jones, Holding my Grandmother’s Oranges, 2021. Collage: chromogenic prints, mixed media, magazine, and newsprint. Overall: 127 × 198.1 cm. Purchase, with funds from the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Aaron Jones. 2021/275.

We Are Story - Jones
Laurie Kang, Her Own Devices, 35 photograms

Laurie Kang, Her Own Devices, 2020. 35 photograms. 61 × 50.8 cm (each). Purchase, with funds from the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Laurie Kang. Photo courtesy the artist and Franz Kaka. 2021/38.

We Are Story - Kang
Robert Kautuk, Walrus Hunt, Inkjet print.

Robert Kautuk, Walrus Hunt, 2016. Inkjet print. 53.34 × 90.8 cm. Purchase, with funds from the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Robert Kautuk.

We Are Story - Kautuk
Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, Braided Grass, Inkjet print

Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, Braided Grass, 2013. Inkjet print. Overall: 61 x 91 cm. Purchase, with funds from the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill. 2021/72.

We Are Story - Hill
Sanaz Mazinani, Tokyo/Damascus, Pigment print, mounted and laminated to Dibond

Sanaz Mazinani, Tokyo/Damascus, 2012. Pigment print, mounted and laminated to Dibond. Overall: 149.9 cm. Purchase, with funds from the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Sanaz Mazinani. Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery. 2021/101.

We Are Story - Mazinani
Jalani Morgan, Protesters perform a ‘die-in’ by laying on the ground at Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto

Jalani Morgan, Protesters perform a ‘die-in’ by laying on the ground at Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto, 2014, printed 2017. Two inkjet prints on vinyl. Overall: approx. 243 x 121.92 cm (each). Purchase, with funds from the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Jalani Morgan.

We Are Story - Morgan
Dawit L. Petros, Act of Recovery (Part II),  printed 2016. Archival pigment print

Dawit L. Petros, Act of Recovery (Part II), 2014, printed 2016. Archival pigment print. Overall: 50.8 × 66 cm. Purchase, with funds from the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier, 2021. © Dawit L. Petros, 2021/50.

We Are Story - Petros
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