Five must-see photography exhibitions this summer

Visual art is about movement. Images framed or captured through an artist’s vision can transport you, but it is also an opportunity to physically move around the city, to immerse yourself in the beauty, protest or simply the point of view of another person.

The Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival offers a fun and easy way to explore Toronto’s neighborhoods (check the listings at or the physical map available at participating locations), with many exhibits taking place throughout the summer .

Here are five more shows to get you moving, thinking — and maybe indulging in some food-truck feasting.

Edward Burtynsky, “In the Wake of Progress” (Yonge Dundas Square)

Photographer Ed Burtynsky has spent his career documenting industry’s devastating impact on the global environment, creating some of the most profound images of our time. Forty Years of Work, Burtynsky’s biggest project to date, ‘In the Wake of Progress’, is a free public art installation combining video and images from his career, co-produced by fellow eco-hero and producer music by Bob Ezrin (Kiss, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper), with an original score composed by Phil Strong, vocals by Métis Cree artist iskwē and performances by musicians from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music. The 22-minute immersive experience will launch June 11-12 at Yonge Dundas Square as part of the Luminato Festival, before moving to the Canadian Opera Center Theater for a two-week stint.

Sunil Gupta, “From Here to Eternity. Sunil Gupta, A Retrospective” (Ryerson Image Centre)

If you’re in the neighborhood looking for more visual stimuli, add a visit to the photography gallery at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson University) to your Pride Month tasks. Through August 6, Sunil Gupta’s personal documentary photos traverse the gay liberation movement of the 1970s, from Montreal to New York and London, offering an insider’s perspective on a story some may now take for granted. . Gupta’s most recent works focus on her birthplace in India and her LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit activism work. While you’re there, check out the Mauvais Genre/Under Cover: A Secret History of Cross-Dressers exhibit, which brings together images from the 1880s through the 1980s of not only fabulous drag queens, but also those who quietly challenged the gender expectations of their time.

“Image? The Power of the Visual” (Aga Khan Museum)

Coronation Siamak Filzadeh (born in 1970), Iran.

It’s hard to put your phone away when you’re inside the magnificent Aga Khan Museum – the building’s architectural design begs for an Instagram photo or 12. But that’s exactly what the museum’s ambitious new exhibition, ‘Image? The Power of the Visual,” asks you to, at least for a while. Divided into five themes, including Faith and Spirituality, Power and Authority and Values ​​and Ideas, this multi-disciplinary show presents a wide range of contemporary and historical works that demonstrate how the creation of images has been used over the centuries to unite and divide. , and for oneself. -expression. The show runs until September 5, but if you plan your visit between June 28 and July 3, you can catch the Rhythms of Canada festival with outdoor performances, food trucks and a souk-style market.

Mimi Lien, “Parade” (The Bentway)

Bentway: PARADE by Mimi Lien (2022) (Rendered)

The Bentway still offers a cool takeover – in every sense – of the Gardiner Expressway traffic above. This summer, the outdoor pathway and public art room have a packed schedule, starting with New York artist Mimi Lien’s ‘Parade’, a 650-foot treadmill carrying colorful pylons, bicycles and d other road symbols above the skating rink. (Although it’s not necessary, just pretend you’re in Xanadu and pre-book roller skate rentals at Facilities extend through the summer with work on the Ogimaa Mikana Project, which focuses on the relocation of Anishinaabemowin place names throughout the city, and Michael Lee Poy’s joyful carnival-inspired transformation, culminating in a community parade on July 17. This summer, the Bentway steps out of the house with a series of workshops and performances, including teen-led night walks, produced by the popular Mammalian Diving Reflex. Discover all the activities and register on

Zahra Siddiqui, “The Face of Islam” (Downsview Park)

Zahra Siddiqui's installation entitled

ArtworxTO, the year-long initiative celebrating public art in the city, continues throughout the season at various locations (visit for the full schedule), including Downsview Park with the series of intimate portraits of the Muslim community of Zahra Siddiqui. The installation counters the often monolithic view of Islamic identity by celebrating beauty and individuality. On May 28, from noon to 3 p.m., Siddiqui will distribute flowers and take photos. Or plan your visit for June 10-12, when Foodalicious takes over Downsview with carnival rides, live music and, yes, food trucks.


Sue Carter is associate editor of Inuit Arts Quarterly and freelance contributor based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @flinnflon


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