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A boy feeds his younger brother by hand
Fig. 1

Gordon Parks, Flavio Feeds Zacarias, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1961, gelatin silver print. Courtesy of The Gordon Parks Foundation

The Ryerson Image Centre’s new exhibition explores famous Life magazine photo essay by Gordon Parks, opening September 12

Sep. 11, 2018

This fall, the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) presents an exhibition centred around a seminal photo essay by pioneering African-American photographer Gordon Parks—and the extraordinary chain of events it prompted. The exhibition, along with a full season of new shows, launches with a party, free and open to the public, on September 12, 6:00–8:00 pm.

Exhibitions on view:

Gordon Parks: The Flávio Story
Published in Life magazine in June 1961, Parks’ celebrated essay “Freedom’s Fearful Foe: Poverty” profiled the da Silva family, living in a hillside favela near a wealthy enclave of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Focused on the eldest son, Flávio, a resourceful twelve-year-old suffering from crippling asthma, the story movingly explored poverty in Brazil through the experience of a single family and elicited thousands of letters and nearly $30,000 USD (more than $250,000 today) in donations from Life readers. This exhibition is organized by the Ryerson Image Centre, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and The Gordon Parks Foundation, in partnership with Instituto Moreira Salles, and generously supported by media sponsors the Toronto Star and The Walrus, with assistance from Instituto Sacatar.

TERREMOTO: Mexico, 1985
This exhibition explores Mexico City’s massive 1985 earthquake from the multiple perspectives of local and international photographers who documented the tragedy, depicting the city’s destruction, the efforts of rescue brigades, the experiences of grieving survivors, and persistent homelessness in the aftermath.

Claudia Joskowicz: Every Building on Avenida Alfonso Ugarte – After Ruscha
Focusing on a major boulevard in the Bolivian city of El Alto, the site of violent 2003 protests against foreign exploitation of national petroleum reserves, this two-channel video poetically conflates staged actions with everyday life, exploring the lingering impacts of political upheaval.

Alia Youssef: The Sisters Project
On view in the RIC Student Gallery, this photographic series of Canadian Muslim women subverts labels and false associations, counters incorrect narratives around voicelessness and lack of agency, and shows women who are in control of their lives.

Events, talks and tours:

Wednesday, September 12, 6:00–8:00 pm
Exhibitions Opening Party

Thursday, September 20, 12:00 pm
Noon Time Collection Talk with Blake Fitzpatrick and Vid Ingelevics

Wednesday, September 26, 7:00 pm
Curators in Conversation: Philip Brookman and Deborah Willis with Paul Roth

Wednesday, October 3, 7:00 pm
Artist and Curator in Conversation: Claudia Joskowicz with Ilana Shamoon

Thursday, October 18, 12:00 pm
Noon Time Collection Talk with Vanessa Lakewood

Wednesday, October 17, 6:00 pm
Special tour of Gordon Parks: The Flávio Story with curator (and RIC Director) Paul Roth and Julie Crooks, Assistant Curator of Photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

Wednesday, October 24, 6:00–8:00 pm
Opening party for Jason Perreault: Bien dans sa peau in the RIC Student Gallery

Wednesday, November 7, 6:00 pm
Special tour of TERREMOTO: Mexico, 1985 with curator Denise Birkhofer

Wednesday, November 14, 7:00 pm*
Tanenbaum Lecture with Jamel Shabazz
Location TBA

Wednesday, November 21, 6:00 pm
Special tour of Gordon Parks: The Flávio Story with curator (and RIC Director) Paul Roth

Thursday, November 29, 12:00 pm
Noon Time Collection Talk with Jorge Ayala

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre (33 Gould Street) unless otherwise noted. The RIC is an accessible space.

* Events marked with asterisks require registration via www.eventbrite.ca. A full schedule of events is available via ryersonimagecentre.ca/events. 

The Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) exists for the research, teaching and exhibition of photography and related media. We are an active partner within the academic fabric of Ryerson University, the cultural network of greater Toronto, and the national and international artistic community. We develop rigorous yet inclusive programs for students, faculty, artists, researchers and curators, as well as the general public. The RIC boasts three interrelated areas of activity. Our exhibition program addresses topics of social, cultural, aesthetic and historical concern from a variety of contemporary perspectives. Our Peter Higdon Research Centre conducts and facilitates inquiry into primary resource materials and offers workshops, lectures, symposia and publication programs. Finally, we maintain a collection of photography spanning the medium’s history, as well as several artist and journalism archives—including the renowned Black Star Collection of twentieth century photoreportage. For more information, visit www.ryersonimagecentre.ca

Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 41,500 students, including 2,400 master's and PhD students, 3,200 faculty and staff, and nearly 170,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past five years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca