Tag Archives: international art

SCENT OF JASMINE Image for CONTACT May 2016

PHOTOGRAPHER MAHA MUNAF SHOWCASES HER STUNNING STREETSCAPES OF DAMASCUS for the 2016 SCOTIABANK CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL

On Saturday May 7, URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East in Toronto, hosted a special opening reception for photographer MAHA MUNAF whose stunning B&W and sepia-toned photos of street life in the city of Damascus as well as the countryside in Madagascar are part of the city-wide annual 2016 SCOTIABANK CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL. Here are just a handful of images from Maha’s “Scent of Jasmine” exhibition from yesterday’s launch party…02-Aleppo 05-DamascusMaha graduated as an architect in Jordan in 2004 but had a passion for capturing snapshots of life around her with her camera. She soon found that being a female photographer in a conservative society was challenging but Maha took her camera and took images from colorful India all the way to the Everest Heights. “There are so many places to explore and stories to be told.”08-MadagascarMaha always had an eye for art; as a little girl her notebooks contained sketches of fairy tales and places she would soon come to visit. Experimenting with her camera, Maha saw the world differently through her lens, a world with no limitations. Now, having relocated to Toronto, Maha is excited about starting this new chapter; so far she’s been part of two group exhibitions and presented her solo photography exhibition “Forgotten Memories” as part of last year’s Festival which was very well received. She is now looking to do more with her photography – to inspire, grow & get inspired herself.

Artist Statement:  Photography is a way to tell a story and evoke a feeling. I utilize my camera as a tool to create imagery that awakens a deeper meaning beyond the obvious visual: an object through texture, a person through gesture or a place through light. My focus is bringing my subjects from ordinary to extraordinary.

Urban Gallery soon filled with admiring fans and family, including Maha’s brother, Mohanad, and sister Maryam (below) who looked at her work with such pride.20160507_144343 20160507_144424Gallery guests were soon picking out their favourite images and hopefully there’ll be lot of red dots (sales) alongside the photos by the end of the month-long Festival!20160507_14394820160507_14411220160507_14511020160507_150950It’s always nice when friends drop in with flowers!20160507_152402 20160507_152528Urban Gallery curator Allen Shugar (above L) shared a toast with Maha’s brother (centre) and another gallery guest.
There are also a number of full colour photos (below) taken during Maha’s travels through rural Madagascar.20160507_144051

20160507_144054For Gallery hours and additional information on Maha’s “Scent of Jasmine” showcase, please visit www.urbangallery.ca  or Maha’s own website: www.mahamunaf.com 20160507_145026 20160507_151842 contact20_logo-300

 

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ORT TORONTO GALA CELEBRATES ONGOING INT’L EDUCATION WORK + HONOURS CONTRIBUTIONS TO ART WORLD

Last night, ORT Toronto hosted its annual fundraising gala “Unfinished Business of the 20th Century – Restitution of Looted Art” at the Design Exchange in Toronto with a dinner and dessert reception plus a silent art auction. Thanks to my friend and PR colleague, Danielle Iversen who publicized the gala, I was invited to attend and help celebrate this year’s Honourees including Paul E. Bain (pictured below) partner at Dickinson Wright LLP, who was honoured for his work protecting artists’ rights and his dedication to several not-for-profit art organizations.20151018_212655…as well as Honourees for the ORT Recognition AwardJanis & Kenny Finkelstein, for their many years of dedication and support to the organization (below).20151018_195434Then the evening’s MC, Michael B. Miller (below) introduced the Keynote Speaker for this year’s gala…..20151018_194232….Donald S. Burris, one of the men behind the “Woman in Gold” case where a Nazi-appropriated Gustav Klimt masterpiece was returned to its rightful owner decades after the theft. Mr. Burris is a senior partner in the L.A. firm Burris, Schoenberg & Walden LLP, and he spoke about that case (recently told in the Helen Mirren/Ryan Reynolds feature film “The Woman in Gold”) and his pursuit of other art works stolen by the Nazis in World War II.  Talk about a fascinating presentation and what a riveting brush with history I experienced.

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20151018_205126Mr. Burris spoke at great length about the numerous trials, the international legal wrangling and ultimate triumph that brought the Klimt portrait of Ms. Altmann’s aunt back to the family, as well as comments regarding the other recent movie “The Monuments Men” which sadly did not tell the full true story of the Allies’ attempt to rescue and protect the greatest artworks in Europe’s private Jewish family collections.

Although the speech was a sobering reminder to all what happened seven+ decades ago, the evening was full of promise and positive celebrations for ORT Toronto which is an arm of World ORT, founded in 1880, the largest non-denominational, non-governmental organization providing “Education for Life” each year to over 300,000 disadvantaged students in 60 countries. The name is an acronym based on its original Russian name. ORTThrough its International Cooperation programs, ORT supports non-sectarian economic and social development in under-developed parts of the world, with vocational training and the provision of technical assistance.  ORT operates a global network of schools, colleges, training centres and programmes in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the CIS and Baltic States, Israel, Latin America, North America and Western Europe. ORT schools are highly regarded and are open to all children regardless of religious backgrounds.  http://www.ort-toronto.org/

ORT Executive Director, Lindy Meshwork says: “In these challenging times, we believe the key to a better world lies in education.  Since 1880 ORT has been providing the necessary skills and training to succeed, providing hope and the opportunity for a brighter future for students around the world.”
Exec. Dir. Lindy Meshwork with Danielle

Exec. Dir. Lindy Meshwork with event publicist Danielle

The evening also featured a delicious buffet dinner with a dessert reception after the awards presentations. There was a silent auction featuring artworks by renowned painters & photographers to help raise funds for ORT Toronto. Here are some candid photos of the guests, honourees and VIPs …and mazel tov to all for a fantastic night!

Harry & Esther Goodman enjoyed the festivities

Harry & Esther Goodman enjoyed the festivities

Danielle (left) joined my table for dinner and schmoozing.

Danielle (left) joined my table for dinner and schmoozing with Rochelle Covent (right)

Mr. Burris was enthusiastically  congratulated on his speech

Mr. Burris was enthusiastically congratulated on his speech

I ran into media colleague Georgina Bencsik at the buffet

I ran into media colleague Georgina Bencsik at the buffet

More media enjoying the dinner incl. Jody Glaser (above R)

More media enjoying the dinner incl. Jody Glaser (above R) with his wife Katherine

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L-R: Philip Strathy, Danielle, Sam Wales & Michael Miller

L-R: Philip Strathy, Danielle, Sam Wales & Michael Miller

A successful fundraiser & awards gala = good reason to kick up their heels!

Harry, Danielle & Sam kick up their heels

ABOUT THE EVENT:
GALA MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Michael B. Miller, Partner, Dickinson Wright, LLP
HONOURARY CO-CHAIRS: Carrie Katz + Ellen Miller
TRIBUTE COMMITTEE: Madeline Avedon, Rose Baum, Jeanne Beker, Joyce Chapnick, Justice Sandra Chapnik, Hedy Frisch, Edie Glazer, Julianna Greenspan, Marlene Hait,
Elise Kalles, Barbara Kingstone, Michelle Maderer, Laura Walsh & Israel Mida, Tom Mihalik,, Aviva Morgenstern, Harriet Morton, Marlene & Martin Rochwerg, Irene Reingold, Mary Richmond, Serafima Roll, Dorothy Cohen Shoichet, Elise Sieradzki, Justice Gertrude Speigel, Bella Tal, Sam Wales, Florence Weinstock, Liora Yakubowicz
ORT Canada – Charitable Number: 118834910 RR0001
Co- Presidents: Carrie Katz, Jacob Kincler & Arthur Silber
ORT Toronto
President: Janis Finkelstein,  Past President: Florence Weinstock
Executive Director: Lindy Meshwork
Director of Admin: Roni Maderer
Sponsored by BMO, Tom Mihalik: Tom’s Place and Janis & Kenny Finkelstein
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