Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Appoints Heather Canlas Rigg as Artistic Director

  • TORONTO, Canada
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  • February 14, 2023

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Image Credit: Heather Canlas Rigg

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Appoints Heather Canlas Rigg as Artistic Director

Toronto, Ontario, Canada… Darcy Killeen, Chief Executive Officer, and Tara Smith, Executive Director, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, announced the appointment of Heather Canlas Rigg as the Festival’s new Artistic Director. Canlas Rigg will join CONTACT on March 1, 2023. The 27th edition of the annual citywide event is on view April 28 through May 31, 2023, with some installations remaining open into the summer. Canadian and international artists will present lens-based works in exhibitions, site-specific installations, and commissioned projects at museums, galleries, and public spaces across Toronto.

“Heather brings to the position a critical lens, a driven enthusiasm, a wealth of knowledge and experience, and a familiarity with the communities that CONTACT strives to serve. A curator, educator, and writer based in Toronto, she will be a key player in the continued growth of the Festival, both locally and internationally. On behalf of CONTACT’s Board, staff, and community, we are delighted to welcome Heather back to CONTACT in this new role,” said Killeen.

Having been a part of the Festival team for over five years earlier in her career, Canlas Rigg returns having led numerous innovative and ambitious curatorial and publishing projects exploring concepts of de-colonialism, community, speculative futures, reimagining art institutions, and more. Canlas Rigg’s vision and engagement with contemporary lens-based practices as an independent curator and writer and having been the curator of two artist-run centres, make her an ideal candidate to help guide CONTACT’s artistic direction toward a robust future.

“I am excited to continue CONTACT’s legacy of city-wide lens-based programming. I am an artist led, collaborative curator who seeks to support the multifaceted ways that artists approach and employ the materiality of camera technology, while decentring colonial narratives. I look forward to working with the Festival team to pursue new initiatives, including growing the CONTACT Photobook Lab, and leading the Festival into the future together, expanding the scope of what a photography festival can be,” said Canlas Rigg.

Prior to rejoining CONTACT, Canlas Rigg was the inaugural Curatorial Resident at the artist-run centre Gallery TPW. Recent projects include Stephanie Comilang and Simon Speiser’s Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?; Jesse Chun’s And verse (혼잣말의 언어 그리고 cosmos), and a year-long program series on sound entitled Audibility. Previously, Canlas Rigg was the Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography in Toronto. Canlas Rigg currently co-teaches Contemporary Art Photography in Continuing Education at Toronto Metropolitan University.

In 2018, Canlas Rigg and Magdalyn Asimakis formed ma ma, a Toronto based curatorial collective that explores matrilineal knowledge, feminism, and intersectionality. In 2021, they curated a three-part program for Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art, entitled Fast Forward: Speculative Institutions that used speculation as a tool to imagine a future with ethical museum and art institution structures. This spring, ma ma will release a collaborative cookbook about food and diaspora–informed by their Filipinx and Greek heritages, respectively–produced in collaboration with Art Metropole and The Table.

About Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

CONTACT fosters and celebrates the art and profession of photography with its annual Festival across greater Toronto in May and year-round programming in the CONTACT Gallery. CONTACT presents lens-based works by acclaimed and emerging artists, documentary photographers, and photojournalists from Canada and around the world. The curated program of Core Exhibitions and site-specific Core Outdoor Installations featuring works by local and international artists, presented in collaboration with major museums, galleries, and artist-run centers, are the heart of the Festival. These are cultivated through partnerships, commissions, and new discoveries, framing the cultural, social, and political events of our times. CONTACT presents a wide range of programs including a book fair, lectures, talks, panels, workshops, and symposia during the Festival. Please check the CONTACT website for updates.

CONTACT, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1997, is generously supported by its title sponsor Scotiabank, and Scotia Wealth Management, as well as 3M Canada, Beyond Digital Imaging, BIG Digital, Four By Eight Signs, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, Toronto Image Works, The Gilder, Transcontinental PLM, and Waddington's Auctioneers and Appraisers.

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Media Contacts

For additional information, Libby Mark or Heather Meltzer at Bow Bridge Communications, LLC, Toronto: +1 647-544-8441, New York City, +1 917-968-5567;

Image Credit: Heather Canlas Rigg

Libby Mark or Heather Meltzer
Bow Bridge Communications
Toronto: +1 647-544-8441, New York City, +1 917-968-5567

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
80 Spadina Ave
Suite 205
Toronto, Canada
416 539 9595

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