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Canada’s leading contemporary outdoor and online art fair

July 12 – 14, 2024.

Two outstanding lens-based artists

Maureen O’Conner’s haunting photographs of rescued animals in transitionary yet majestic spaces need no introduction to loyal TOAF audiences. Her outstanding work is reflected in the several awards she has won in recent years.

Maureen is the recipient of the 2022 Best of Photography & Digital Media Award generously supported by our partners, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Mina Nowzari’s curious and out-of-the-box lens-based explorations was awarded with an Honourable Mention in Photography & Digital Media by Toronto Image Works

Enjoy getting to know Maureen and Mina and exploring their works.  


Maureen O’Connor

Recipient of Best of Photography & Digital Media

Maureen O’Connor is a fine art photographer living in Toronto and is a graduate of OCAD U. Maureen is a lifelong animal lover and these photographs are produced with the cooperation of local sanctuaries, many of these animals are rescued from fur farms and others are non-releasable wildlife. The animals in these images were brought and photographed onsite to the location in the photograph, several of the locations are homes in Toronto pre-redevelopment.

She sees these spaces as transformative, evoking memory and showing the beauty and fragility of the animals and the architecture. We are invited to cross the threshold and imagine new narratives where the natural world and the domestic world meet, and consider how this informs our identity in a country defined by both its wild landscape and its orderly cities.

Our Beacon, Maureen O’Connor, 2021, Chromogenic Photograph.

From the award judge

“I have chosen Maureen O’Connor for the innovative, expressive quality of the question of identity between the narrative where nature and the built environment intersect.”

Katherine Takpannie, Photographer

Revival, Maureen O’Connor, 2021, Chromogenic Photograph.

On receiving the award

My career has flourished through TOAF allowing me to self-represent my photography to art collectors. Engaging with the public, and connecting with art lovers that are passionate about Canadian art is an incredible opportunity to hear feedback about my photography. 


Mina Nowzari

Honourable Mention in Photography & Digital Media

Mina Nowzari is an artist working across a wide range of media including photography, mail art, and site-specific interventions. Considering the boundary between public and private is a central focus of Nowzari’s work. Her exploration includes documenting the objects in people’s bags to performing private sphere activities in photo booths across Florence and Berlin. As of late, Nowzari has focused on exploring the connection between photographs of a personal nature with individual memory and themes that are collectively identifiable.

The Embrace, Mina Nowzari, 2021, Framed mounted giclee print.

From the award judge

“I have chosen Mina Nowzari as she conveys boundaries between public and private in an original format.”

– Katherine Takpannie, Photographer

What is your newest inspiration?

I LOVE photo montage videos! They’re not easy to search because most of them were created many years ago and are not optimized for SEO. I remember seeing these videos a lot on Facebook and feeling inspired to make my own. Here are two I could find to share: “Megan Boyle’s Liveblog trailer” and this cool one from “Mary Anna Millican”.

On receiving the award

It’s an honour to have my work recognized for this award and comforting to know that others are able to connect with it. It has been impactful to see how individuals were compelled to share their personal stories in response to my work. It’s interesting how a piece can take on so many different meanings and spark familiar memories in those removed from it.


In the Community

CONTACT Photobook Fair Returns

Saturday, April 29th, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM at Stephen Bulger Gallery
Free admission

The third edition of the CONTACT Photobook Fair brings together independent publishers and leading contemporary photographers to present newly released publications. The goal of the Fair is to foster opportunities for artists, publishers, and book enthusiasts to build connections, discover new projects, and exchange ideas on books and photography.

Funders & Sponsors

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