“Portraits Of Teenage Bermuda” In Canada

May 4, 2017

A photography exhibition featuring portraits of Bermudian teens by Canadian photographer Debra Friedman will have its official opening tomorrow evening [May 5] at the Art Square Gallery in Toronto as part of the Contact Photography Festival.

Mrs. Friedman traveled to Bermuda in March 2015 to start a three-month artist in residency held at Masterworks, where her project involved making portraits of teenagers in Bermuda.

The project “Coming of Age in Wonderland, Portraits of Teenage Bermuda” portrays the “wonderful young people displaying themselves as they were – awkward, brave, shy and bold, full of a sense of style and some beautifully considered messes”, explained Mrs Friedmand.

“While Bermuda evokes wonderland on the surface the teenage years are fraught, similar to Alice’s freefall down the rabbit hole,” said Mrs Friedman.

Test Print 1 March 10 2015

“That is a Wonderland too; a time of life full of contradictions. There is darkness there and illumination, euphoria and deep fears. It can be an exhilarating if perilous journey.

“There is something unique about navigating the landscape of teenage on an island more than a thousand miles from the nearest landfall. For young people branching out in a million directions, there is nowhere to go in a hurry.

“The kids I encountered had one foot firmly planted on ‘The Rock’ and the other in future dreams. Many will go. Some will return. Some will never leave, laying down deep roots right out of high school, nurtured by church, family and community.”

The photographs explore Bermuda teenagers at school, clubs, army recruit camp, fast food joints, sports fields and many other locations throughout the island. The subjects present themselves in all their contradictory glory – awkward and brave, shy and bold – all against the idyllic backdrop of their island home, she said.

The exhibit, which will run from May 1 to May 22, will be one of the featured exhibitions on display at the Art Square Gallery in Toronto during the Contact Photography Festival, one of the largest photography events in the world.

The Festival, which was founded in 1997 to celebrate and foster the art and profession of photography, will see over 200 exhibitions of over 1500 artists throughout the month of May in the Greater Toronto Area.

Bermuda Middle School Bermuda May 2017

“It’s a great honour to have been selected as one of 41 featured artists out of 1500 involved in the festival,” said Mrs Friedman.

Along with the exhibition, the photographs from the project will be published in a book by Daylight Books in January 2018, with an expected launch in Bermuda at Masterworks.

The book includes the photographs from the exhibition as well as writing on the teenage experience from Yesha Townsend, a Bermudian writer and spoken word artist.

Mrs Friedman has a BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and an MFA from The Chicago Institute of Art. She is the recipient of numerous visual arts awards from The Polaroid Corporation, The Canada Council and The Ontario Arts Council and has enjoyed several artists’ residencies.

For more information about the artist and links to the photography exhibition, visit the website.

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