The Canada Science and Technology Museum and the Portrait Gallery of Canada, a program of Library and Archives Canada, are excited to launch Festival Karsh, a summer-long celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh. Born in Turkish Armenia in 1908, Karsh achieved his own renown during the 1940s and 1950s by photographing celebrities and world leaders.
“Yousuf Karsh was a Canadian of immense achievement. His camera captured our nation’s story, and his life is a moving tale of determination and perseverance. This exhibition pays him homage and allows every Canadian the opportunity to better know and understand this important figure and his work”, said Mr. Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament (Ottawa-Orléans).
“Canadians can feel enormous pride in Yousuf Karsh’s achievements,” said Dr. Lilly Koltun, Director General responsible for the portrait collection at Library and Archives Canada. “His art crystallized both our ambitions and our humanity in portraits of great emotional power.”
The highlight of the Festival is Karsh: Image Maker, a major exhibition on view all summer at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. In this interactive exhibition, visitors will learn about Karsh as displaced refugee and striving apprentice. They will discover the tools Karsh used to craft his images and signature style, including an impressive floor-to-ceiling enlarger and his iconic Calumet camera. Also on view are portraits of some of the 20th century’s leading figures, from Sir Winston Churchill to Audrey Hepburn, drawn from the 350,000 items in the Karsh collection held at Library and Archives Canada. Visitors will be encouraged to make their own portraits through an immersive studio experience and they will also see how their reaction helps to make a Karsh portrait meaningful.
“The Canada Science and Technology Museum is the keeper of Karsh’s professional equipment including cameras, lights and darkroom tools,” said Mr. Claude Faubert, Director General, Canada Science and Technology Museum. “We are delighted to collaborate with Library and Archives Canada and to share with all Canadians the stories of Yousuf Karsh and his work during this, his centennial year.”
The Karsh Trail, winding through downtown Ottawa, is a unique feature of the Festival. A self-directed walking tour of 11 sites and displays related to Karsh’s 65 years in the city, the Trail leads you to many unexpected places, such as the Ottawa Little Theatre, Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, as well as to the site of Karsh’s first studio on Sparks Street, which he opened in 1933 during the Great Depression.
Festival Karsh and the Karsh: Image Maker exhibition at the Canada Science and Technology Museum run from June 12 to September 13, 2009. Visit festivalkarsh.ca for a full listing of programs and events.
Festival Karsh is a collaboration between the Canada Science and Technology Museum and the Portrait Gallery of Canada, a program of Library and Archives Canada.
Portrait Gallery of Canada
The Portrait Gallery of Canada, a program of Library and Archives Canada, is dedicated to showcasing the men and women from all walks of life who have helped shape and continue to shape our country. Through exhibitions, collections and programming, the Portrait Gallery reflects the values which define Canada and which continue to provide an enduring basis for our country’s vision of nationhood now, and into the future. www.portraits.gc.ca.
Canada Science and Technology Museum
Sharing Canada’s rich collections of objects related to transportation, natural resources, communications, space, energy, manufacturing and industry, the Canada Science and Technology Museum helps Canadians explore the rich connections among science, technology, and culture. www.sciencetech.technomuses.ca.
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Canada Science and Technology Museum
Media Relations Officer
Library and Archives Canada