OCAD U Photography Program

News about events, our community & opportunites

Month: April 2017 (page 1 of 3)

Nicholas Pye: A Silent Storm


Opening: Thursday, May 4, 6-8pm – 129 Tecumseth Street, Toronto, Canada

We are delighted to announce a solo exhibition by Toronto-based artist Nicholas Pye.

‘A Silent Storm’ is a body of work about memory, duration, and disappearance. Through the use of large-scale photographic images, video installation and embossed text works, the exhibition speaks about identity over time and notions of voluntary and involuntary disappearance.

The photographic self-portraits in the exhibition use masquerade to depict identity in flux between what is fixed and what is fading. Additionally, the imagery in ‘Rocker’, ‘A Silent Storm’ and ‘Caught in Flight’ references recollections of masculinity and gentleness. The text works are fragments of a poem written by the artist, while video installation ‘The Mountain’ shows the nature of being: birth, life, death. This work, which is set on an infinite loop, cycles through the becoming and the departure of the anonymous subject.

Friday #ArtCrush: Naaz Niazi

Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University. This Friday’s #ArtCrush is Naaz Niazi, a fifth year photography student in thesis. 

In this series, Naaz and Morgan talk about collage as a form of image making, working as an Iranian within the Canadian context and exploring multiple identities through photography.



Who or what are your artistic inspirations?

My inspiration come from anything that makes me pause and think further about art. For example, references to  the everlasting masterpieces of architecture sites in Iran, Persian Miniature paintings, Persian textile and Persian geometric pattern have been an inspiration for me to create an art with new meaning.

I’ve recently discovered a selection of amazing art through Instagram pages such as art_psycho , love.watts, artbasel and collage_expo introduce contemporary artists and instantly update me in the world of art.


What subject matter do you tend to spend the most time working on?

I’ve always been drawn to subject matters such as visual narrative and constructed scenery, paradoxes of culture,  magic realism and surrealism in photography. My approach to photography is explored through self-representation and performance while exploring the space between the real and unreal.



Transposed 1, Digital Collage, 2017


What drives you to work with that subject matter?

As an Iranian-Canadian artist the ambition to share a true expressive work in themes of cultural identity was always an element of interest. My aim was to combine the traditional identity versus the modern identity and the notions of the self as an Iranian in society. I am also interested that through juxtaposition, I can offer a relationship between objects, subjects, locations and their new environment while provoking the viewer’s imagination and bringing memory to a constructed reality.


Do you work in any other mediums and how does that inform your work?

I’ve been drawn to create a painterly aesthetic to my photography and lithography has given me the ability to create a  texture similar to a painting. I have also worked within matte medium transfer on vellum which creates a delicate see through piece that works well with light and installation. These mediums take photography out of its 2- dimensionality and create a closer relationship between the artist and their work.


In Transposed (your thesis work), you have been dealing with themes as a transnational artist and straddling different identities living in Canada and being Iranian. What is your experience working as a transnational artist and how do you bring this into your work?

As an Iranian artist I dealt with duality of culture, identity, memory and nostalgia, Iwas hoping to produce a work that shares a true expression of this experience while using assemblage, juxtaposition, and manipulation to create a visual narrative that provides an open-end format to the viewer and brings a sense of experience to the audience.



Transposed 2, Digital Collage, 2017


Working within collaging, how do you decide what different materials and images to bring into making a single image?

In my imagery I mostly use pictures I shot previously  . I believe that each image had a purpose when it was  shot , so i’m constantly looking through new and old images while developing a concept .I also look for symbolism and iconic images within the Persian culture.


How do you think your art practice has changed or evolved over your time at OCAD?

I am so glad that throughout my years at ocad vie experienced a  combination of mediums  . I was always interested to explore art through different mediums and am glad that I  took such multi-disciplinary  courses in painting , printmaking , digital art and video .



Transposed 3, Digital Collage, 2017


Where do you see your career path going and who would you most like to work with?

I am going to continue making my art and am hoping to collaborate with more local artists and be a part of the artist community in Toronto .


Are there any specific OCAD U Faculty who have influenced your work? A specific discipline or course?

I’m so thrilled to be working with so many amazing people through my journey at OCAD . Nicholas Pye have been supporting my ideas and art for the past three years .I  was lucky enough to be mentored by  April Hichox and Nick Pye in my thesis year.

Throughout my liberal courses Mark Dickinson and Gabby Moser affected me  expanding my knowledge in a critical way and their passion in teaching and learning .



Untitled, Digital Collage, 2017


To see more of Naaz’s work visit her instagram.

See Naaz’s work at the

102nd Graduate Exhibition at OCAD University, May 3rd-7th.

Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.

Interview by Morgan Sears-Williams

About the writer: Morgan is a fourth year photography student and runs the Friday #ArtCrush series on the OCAD U Photography Blog. She loves speaking to other artists about social justice, how to break barriers within artist communities and nurturing the arts in alternative spaces. She is the Art Director for The RUDE Collective, a student representative on the Photography Curriculum Committee and has done workshops on intersectionality and allyship relating to LGBTQ folks. To see more, you can visit her website or her instagram.



Free Hot Docs Films!

Hot Docs Festival, Culture and Creativity

Hot Docs Festival, April 27 – May 7, 2017

Students with valid ID can take advantage of free admission to films that start before 5:00 p.m. Pick up your tickets at the screening venue’s box office on the day of the screening, subject to availability.

Festival Dates: April 27 – May 7, 2017

Art Highlights

  • Hondros: In the aftermath of 9/11, award-winning Getty Images conflict photographer Chris Hondros became driven by a commitment to capturing the agony of war.
  • Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World: A vivid picture of an economy that runs contrary to any rules and regulations while laying bare a system that has converted canvases into commodities.
  • More Art Upstairs: Part classy game show, part engaging art exploration, More Art Upstairs captures the debates ArtPrize has intentionally (or inadvertently?) triggered: Can culture be democratized? Do artists need or want to connect with audiences? And is the canonical art establishment on its way out?

For more information, visit the Hot Docs website.

Scotiabank and Dream Office Reit Competition – DUE TOMORROW!

Don’t miss the exciting opportunity to design and build an installation to be displayed in the lobby of Scotia Plaza located at 40 King St. W, Toronto. Partnering with Scotiabank and Dream Office Reit to sponsor the competition, the installation will celebrate, draw attention for and create an impactful and positive conversation about diversity, equality and inclusion.

The installation is to occupy a 10’ x 10’ space, approximately 10 feet high to be located in the lobby of 40 King St. West in the walkway from ground floor Adelaide St. entrance that leads to Starbucks. The installation is to be a physical display (no digital image). The material would have to be hard and durable to withstand public access.

Finalist – $5,000 prize + $10,000 production (includes materials and installation)
Award for 2 Honourable Mentions – $500 each


Faculty of Art graduating students and/or student teams (maximum 3 students, at least 2 participating in Grad Ex) must be participating in Grad Ex 2017.


  • 250-word creative/artistic proposal
  • 4 images of existing work (In PDF form or digital documentation)
  • Student number and telephone number
  • Submit to: Vivian So, Program Assistant, Faculty of Art at vso@ocadu.ca

Good to know

  • Strategically important to the diversity & inclusion (LGBT+) goals
  • Once on site, you may need help to construct/install the project, which must be part of the budget
    Providing real quotes from fabricators in your budget is encouraged
  • Please consider your audience as they are primarily from corporate Toronto, it must be professional, inappropriate content will result in your submission being disqualified.
  • Project Timeline:
    Outline launch: April 20, 2017
    Proposal deadline: April 28, 2017
    Jury Day: During GradEx (May 3 – 7, 2017)
    Award Announcement: TBA
    Creation of Project: May 7 – 30, 2017
    Delivery date: May 31, 2017
    Installation date: June 1, 2017 (revealed at Scotiabank / DREAM Pride Kick-off event June 2nd) Duration of display: several months

Questions or concerns for applicants can be directed to the Project Coordinator:
Rob Nicholls, Sessional Instructor, Drawing and Painting rnicholls@faculty.ocadu.ca

Apply now!

OCAD Alumni Featured in CONTACT Photography Festival

Left: Sebastian Benitez, Untitled (from the series Not This Way Either), 2012; Right: Josée Pedneault, NÆVUS, 2013–in progress

Left: Sebastian Benitez, Untitled (from the series Not This Way Either), 2012; Right: Josée Pedneault, NÆVUS, 2013–in progress

Be sure to check out the upcoming exhibition SIGNALS & SENTIMENTS, a featured CONTACT Photography Festival exhibition, showing at the Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC). Curated by Katelyn Gallucci, the show includes work from OCAD alumni Sebastián Benítez, Petar Boskovic, Shelby Fenlon, and Jimmy Limit.

Where: Suite 302, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON
When: April 27–June 4, 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 27th from 6–9 pm

For more information, visit the Critical Distance website.

Jennifer Long to speak on panel at Glasgow School of Art

Congratulations to Jennifer Long who speaking at a panel at the Glasgow School of Art on April 25th!


The symposium is a contribution to the appreciation of the current Franki Raffles exhibition Observing Women at Work at Reid Gallery, The Glasgow School of Art, 4 March – 27 April 2017.


A series of panels will take place at the Glasgow School of Art on April 25th, 11am-4pm, titled ‘Assessing the legacy and impact of Feminist photographer Franki Raffles.’



This symposium will draw on the Franki Raffles Research project to look in depth at Raffles’ work from 1981 until her death in 1994. There will be papers that outline the initiatives leading to the current exhibition and charting how it was planned. Raffles died suddenly and unexpectedly and without the chance for her to select and organise her work for future preservation. For twenty years, her photographic practice has been largely forgotten and unkown. This symposium will consider the legacy of her work, in Scotland and in other countries, examine how the central themes of her practice are relevant to women and photography today.

It grapples questions such as:

What are the lessons for contemporary feminist and social documentary photographic practice, archive collections and exhibition curation from this work now over 20 years old?


Jennifer Long will be speaking on a panel titled ‘WildFires: creating an ecology for women’s practice in Scotland today.’ 

Wildfires is the Womens Photography Network in Scotland, which you can read more about here.


Congratulations Jenn, and safe travels!

4th Year Epson Award


 Thanks to the generosity of Epson Canada and our supportive local representative Andrew Patrick, OCAD U’s Photography Program is pleased to announce that Epson is donating an Epson Printer (model to be confirmed) to a Photo major enrolled in Directed Photo Studio, Landmarks or Thesis during 2016/2017.


  • Open to undergraduate Photography majors who are currently enrolled in the Photo Directed Studio, Landmarks or Thesis Stream.
  • Applicants must have a practice that incorporates digital output such as digital negatives or prints.
  • Open to students with diverse career goals.

Applications must be submitted before Mon, May 8th at midnight to Jenn Long at jlong@faculty.ocadu.ca. In the subject line, note your name and Epson Award Application.  Results will be announced in the late May.

Submissions: In a single pdf, include the following:

  • Your name, email and the 4th year course you were enrolled in.
  • 5 to 10 examples of your strongest work that is created using a digital component (example: the final print may be a digital print or the work could be created using a digital negative). The selected images can be from a single series or diverse bodies of work.
  • Place only 1 image per page and under each visual, include:
    • Title, date of creation & scale
    • Medium: example: Epson Paper mounted on dibond
    • Additional details if needed: example: “This cyanotype was created using a digital negative.”
  • 250 words (maximum) explaining why you want this Epson printer and how it will be an asset to your future career goals.

If you have any questions, please contact Jenn Long at jlong@faculty.ocadu.ca
(Note: Jenn will be away from April 21-April 27.)

Barbara Astman at the National Gallery of Canada

Right side image: Barbara Coming...Barbara Going , c.1973 © Barbara Astman

Right side image: Barbara Coming…Barbara Going, c.1973 © Barbara Astman

Congratulations to Barbara Astman for her inclusion in the exhibition Photography in Canada: 1960–2000 at the National Gallery of Canada! Her work is a part of the Social Commentary/Feminism/Gender section. The show was organized by the Canadian Photography Institute.

Where: National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON
When: April 7th – September 17th, 2017
More Info: Photography in Canada: 1960-2000

Exhibition catalogues are available for purchase here.

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