CONTACT presents Ayana V. Jackson | Fissure
May 1 – June 2
Campbell House Museum, 160 Queen St W, Toronto
Reception: Thursday, May 2, 6 – 8pm
Artist Talk: Thursday, May 2, 6pm
As part of its 2019 Core Exhibitions, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival will present the work of American artist Ayana V. Jackson in Fissure, a site-specific installation at Campbell House Museum.
Employing her own body, Ayana V. Jackson deconstructs racial and gender stereotypes to create contemporary portraits laced with historical allusions. Deeply influenced by her own fluid identity and her transcontinental practice—working between New York, Paris, and Johannesburg—Jackson’s images crystallize African and African-diasporic realities while challenging a fraught legacy of pictorial representation.
Built in 1822, Campbell House Museum was the former home of Chief Justice Sir William Campbell and his wife, Hannah. With Fissure, Jackson’s work activates the site, invoking the specter of both 19th-century and current-day cultural and class realities. Works from her series Dear Sarah (2016) and Intimate Justice in the Stolen Moment (2017) are presented throughout the house, set against its period décor. Jackson’s lush, contemplative portraits convey subtle acts of resistance and self-empowerment—quiet moments of relaxation and intimate shared touch, and the expression of joyous freedom. The works confront the viewer in the present—a moment still charged with the legacy of colonial racism. Sharing walls with historical portraits of the Campbells, Jackson’s photographs provide a sensitive counterpoint, prompting conversation about representations of Blackness and shifting identities. The work brings the past to life with a charged presence and a poetic gesture of defiant freedom, toward a hopeful future.
Fissure is organized by CONTACT and presented in partnership with Campbell House Museum. Presenting partner Wedge Curatorial Projects.
For complete details on Festival programming, visit scotiabankcontactphoto.com
Catalogue available April 18.
*Venue is accessible on the first floor only.
Ayana V. Jackson’s work examines the complexities of photographic representation and the role of the camera in constructing identity. Using performance and studio-based portraiture, her practice can be seen as a map of the ethical considerations and relationships involved between the photographer, subject and viewer. With a particular interest in the 19th and early 20th century representation of black bodies, Jackson steps into the world of her reference materials as a way to question the role the history of photography and fine art have played in the construction of race and gender stereotypes.
Jackson was awarded the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in 2018; the National Black Arts Festival’s 2017 Fine Art and Fashion Award; and the 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for Photography. She is represented by Galerie Baudoin Lebon (Paris) and Mariane Ibrahim (Chicago), and has exhibited with Gallery MOMO (Johannesburg), Primo Marella Gallery (Milan), Galerie Sho Contemporary (Tokyo), the San Francisco Mexican Museum, Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art (MoCADA), and the Philadelphia African American Museum. Jackson has received grants from the Marguerite Casey Foundation and the French Institute. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including the catalogues Poverty Pornography & Archival Impulse (2013) and African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth (2006) and the academic journals n.paradoxa, Art South Africa, Art + Auction, Camera Austria, Afrique in Visu, Proximo Futuro/Next Future and ZAM magazine.
The Campbell House Museum is Partially Accessible (ground floor only.)
CONTACT fosters and celebrates the art and profession of photography with an annual Festival in May and year-round programming in the CONTACT Gallery.
CONTACT, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1997, is generously supported by Scotiabank, Nikon Canada, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso, Toronto Image Works, The Gilder, Transcontinental PLM, 3M Canada, Waddington’s Auctioneers and Appraisers, Four By Eight Signs, Beyond Digital Imaging, Steam Whistle Brewing, Art Toronto, The Gladstone Hotel, The Globe and Mail, NOW Magazine, CBC Toronto, and Canadian Art.
CONTACT gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Celebrate Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Ontario Arts Council, The Government of Ontario, Partners in Art, Street Art Toronto (StART), Canada Council for the Arts, the Howard Webster Foundation, Goethe-Institut, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, and all of our funders, donors, and programming partners.