Artist Talk with Chris Donovan

Chris Donovan, Boy with Gun, 2017, inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.

Artist Talk
Chris Donovan

Presented by the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU)
Online via Zoom
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
12 pm EST

Join documentary photographer Chris Donovan and RIC Director Paul Roth, as they discuss his series The Cloud Factory, on view May 18–June 18, 2022 in the RIC’s Student Gallery.

Named Canadian Photojournalist of the Year for 2017 and 2018, Donovan has focused his work on the wealth divide and the dynamic between industry and communities. The Cloud Factory lays bare the impact of an oil company and its control over this Saint John community, where the child poverty rate is almost double the national average. Donovan intimately photographs working class families and their homes, juxtaposed against the industrial landscape and pollution that surrounds them. With his genuine and humanistic approach, he earns the trust to tell their stories and, by extension, the hidden story of a place where environmental classism runs rampant. Registration required.

Artist Bio…

Chris Donovan is a documentary photographer based between Toronto and New Brunswick. Hailing from the city of Saint John, his practice focuses on the intersection of community and industry. The Cloud Factory, in the making for ten years, is his graduating thesis exhibition for his MFA in the Documentary Media Program at Toronto Metropolitan University.

His work has been awarded the Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award, and was featured in a group exhibition produced in partnership with the Ryerson Image Centre and the National Gallery of Canada in 2021. He has also been awarded a coveted World Press Photo Award, the Environmental Vision Award (University of Missouri), and the Ian Parry Scholarship, and most recently, TMU’s Student Gallery Production Award – In memory of George Fleischmann. Donovan’s photographs have appeared in group shows in more than 40 countries and across Canada, including at the National Gallery of Canada.

Chris Donovan, Dog With Pipeline, 2019, inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.


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From Here to Eternity. Sunil Gupta, A Retrospective
April 6–August 6, 2022

This exhibition offers a complex and layered view of artist Sunil Gupta’s unique transcontinental photographic vision. From Here to Eternity brings together a comprehensive selection of works from the innovative career of this pioneering community artist. From his participation in New York’s radical Gay Liberation Movement in the 1970s to his more recent campaigning in India, Gupta has inspired generations of photographers, artist/activists, and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights.

Mauvais Genre/Under Cover: A Secret History of Cross-Dressers
April 6–August 6, 2022

Comprising over 160 amateur photographs, this exhibition explores a range of practices relating to cross-dressing from the 1880s to the 1980s. It is drawn from the extensive personal archives of French filmmaker and photography collector Sébastien Lifshitz. The selection includes images of spectacular cross-dressers and glamorous drag queens, but also individuals whose transgressive actions are much more discreet and domestic. Taken by mostly unknown photographers, the prints are of unnamed and unknown figures posing for the camera, using the apparel and gestures traditionally assigned to the “opposite sex.” They have been collected from flea markets, garage sales, junk shops and eBay and were taken in Europe and the United States.

The exhibition offers a candid look into the hidden worlds of individuals and groups that have chosen to defy gender conventions and explore a range of identities and presentations that diverge from what society has restrictively prescribed.

Dominique Blain: DĂ©rive/Drift
April 6–August 6, 2022

Sensitive, powerful, and supremely delicate, Dominique Blain’s Drift is comprised of hundreds of press and amateur images of the sea. Found on the internet and compiled in careful layers, these images gently lift like sails in the breeze to reveal scenes of fragile, makeshift boats floating on perilous waters. This multi-channel video commemorates the countless migrants who flee situations of war, poverty, and violence, sailing in search of freedom.


Since 1839… Book Launch: ClĂ©ment ChĂ©roux
Tuesday, May 31, 7 pm

Curator Talk: SĂ©bastien Lifshitz
Wednesday, June 8, 12 pm

Artist and Curator in Conversation: Sunil Gupta and Mark Sealy
Wednesday, June 22, 12 pm

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Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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Media Contact
Feven Tesfamariam, Ryerson Image Centre, / T+416 560 5306