Above: Shirley Armitage, Moorland Village, Somerset, UK, February 2014.
Photographer: Gideon Mendel, Contacting Toronto: Drowning World, Toronto’s Queen’s Park subway station.
Toronto ON, April 29, 2014 – Drowning World by Gideon Mendel transforms Toronto’s Queen’s Park subway station into a unique exhibition space for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival from May 1 – 31, 2014, capturing the attention of more than one million daily commuters. Contacting Toronto: Drowning World is a part of PATTISON Onestop’s ongoing Art in Transit programme.
An official public installation of Scotiabank CONTACT, Contacting Toronto features London-based, South African photographer Gideon Mendel’s portraits of people whose lives have been devastated by floods, as well as excerpts from his Water videos, which capture people navigating their lives in the midst of recent floodwaters. Drowning World is an art project with photojournalistic roots, which Gideon Mendel began in 2007 as a response to climate change. This long-term effort spans 9 countries to date: the UK, India, Haiti, Pakistan, Australia, Thailand, Nigeria, Germany and the Philippines.
“Public installations of Drowning World are very important to me. Reaching such a large audience and exhibiting in a public space where people are not generally expecting an art experience may prove to be more effective in prompting conversation and social awareness about climate change than a traditional exhibition venue,” said artist Gideon Mendel.
Mendel’s Drowning World surrounds the viewer within the massive underground gallery in the Queen’s Park subway station. Large portraits of flood victims are positioned along the tunnels, and smaller posters depicting flooded homes and landscapes line the stairwells. Drowning World also weaves throughout the entire subway system, with Water clips playing every 10 minutes on the PATTISON Onestop digital platform screens.
“I am excited to be presenting the first major Canadian exhibition of Drowning World in such a well-traveled public space as the Toronto transit system. I hope Mendel’s powerful collection of photographs and videos truly affects commuters and elicits an emotional response to this very serious shared reality,” said Sharon Switzer, National Arts Programmer and Curator, PATTISON Onestop.
“We hope the immersive experience offered by PATTISON Onestop’s Contacting Toronto: Drowning World initiates conversation and that our partnership with CONTACT emphasizes the vital role played by the arts in the social, economic and educational fabric of our community,” said Randy Otto, President, PATTISON Outdoor Advertising. “PATTISON recognizes the importance of private sector investment in culture and is proud to support four unique Scotiabank CONTACT exhibitions this year.”
On Sunday May 25th Gideon Mendel and curator Sharon Switzer will offer an on-site exhibition tour, followed by a panel discussion co-presented by Cape Farewell Foundation at the adjacent MaRS Centre (101 College Street) that engages with the fundamental question of “who we are” as humans in relation to our place on this planet.
For a selection of Drowning World images, Gideon Mendel’s bio and additional information, visit the exhibition website at www.contactingtoronto.ca.
Contacting Toronto: Drowning World is co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters in partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.
Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival – www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com
PATTISON Onestop – www.pattisononestop.com – @onestopmedia
Art in Transit – www.artintransit.ca – @ArtTransit
Art for Commuters – www.art4commuters.com – @art4commuters
About PATTISON Onestop – www.pattisononestop.com
PATTISON Onestop, a division of PATTISON Outdoor Advertising Canada’s largest Out-of-Home advertising company serving 200 markets coast-to-coast, is a world leader in the development and operation of Digital Out-of-Home Media (DOOH) for mass transit, mall, retail, hospitality, residential, office, and outdoor environments. Art in Transit represents PATTISON Onestop’s ongoing arts and culture programme.
About Art in Transit – www.artintransit.ca
Art in Transit represents PATTISON Onestop’s ongoing arts and culture programme, presenting thought-provoking projects that enhance our shared environment and transport commuters, shoppers and city-dwellers, if only momentarily, out of their daily routines.
For more information contact:
Arts Publicist, PATTISON Onestop