A Gallery of Portraits

Works by Rawaa Ayoub, Freya Poirier, Emma Rath, and Maya Wilson
Curated by Julie Hodgson
Consultant, Michael Schreier

September 14 to October 14, 2012
Opening reception: September 14, 5 - 8 p.m.
A Gallery of Portraits: Exhibition at the Council for the Arts in Ottawa includes photographic portraits by emerging artists aged 13 to 17

Learn about the Project
September 29, 2 - 3 p.m.

Special thanks to: School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa

Council for the Arts in Ottawa
Micaela Fitch Room
Arts Court
2 Daly Ave.

I was very pleased to be invited by the Council for the Arts in Ottawa to curate one of their series of exhibitions, Art at the CAO. Because of my interest in photography, I decided to present an exhibition of photos in September to coincide with Festival X: Ottawa Photography Festival, Nuit Blanche Ottawa, and Culture Days.

The film, Bill Cunningham New York, helped me decide what to show. Each week Bill Cunningham, a New York Times fashion photographer, rides around the streets of New York City on his bicycle and captures images of fashion trends. He is a joyful and enthusiastic photographer and offers his viewers an up-to-the-minute snapshot of what New Yorkers are wearing.

The film made me think about Ottawa and the changes this city has undergone since I was a child. I wondered, “What would a snapshot of Ottawa look like?”

The exhibition includes new work by four emerging artists aged 13 to 17: Rawaa Ayoub, Freya Poirier, Emma Rath, and Maya Wilson. The works they have chosen relate to their relationships with their families and friends, with issues around identity and individuality, with truth and innocence, and with reflection and transition.

In thinking about the structure of the exhibition, I decided it would be useful for the artists to not only learn more about photography and portraiture but to also learn what is involved in putting together an exhibition.

I approached Michael Shreier, a professional photographer and former Director of Visual Arts and Professor of Photography at the University of Ottawa, to see if he would be interested in giving the artists an overview of photography and portraiture and in leading two in-depth critiques. He graciously agreed to do so and provided valuable insight and feedback.

Michael Tardioli, Director of the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO) was asked if he would be interested in giving a session on printing. Michael and his staff agreed to give a one-day workshop on Photoshop and the artists printed their images. Through SPAO’s continued generosity the artists were taught how to cut mats and frame their works.

Peter Honeywell, the Executive Director at the Council for the Arts in Ottawa met with the artists to talk about the Vernissage and the installation, and spoke as well about the marketing and communications related to the exhibition.

This has been a wonderful experience and I feel lucky to have worked with such talented artists and arts professionals. The artists have gained a greater knowledge of and appreciation for photography, portraiture, and about the process involved in mounting an exhibition. They have also learned a great deal more about their own work, themselves, and each other.

Please join us on Saturday 29 September at 2 p.m. during Culture Days, when the Council for the Arts in Ottawa will invite the community to meet the artists and discuss the exhibition.

Text: Julie Hodgson