Photography As Storytelling Featuring Terry Kurgan

The Polygon Gallery, The JCC Jewish Book Festival, and the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre present Photography as Storytelling: a conversation with Terry Kurgan.

Terry Kurgan is an eminent South African artist and writer based in Johannesburg. Her innovative, often groundbreaking work has been described as having the unique capacity to combine high art with intimacy, tragedy and popular culture. She has exhibited and published widely in South Africa and internationally, and has received numerous fine art awards. Everyone is Present is Terry’s first work of creative non-fiction. Everyone is Present won Terry Kurgan the 2019 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award and was also selected as finalist for the 2019 National Jewish Book Awards (New York), and shortlisted for the 2019 Photo Arles Book Prize (France). The fact that the book has achieved this dual award recognition is testament to Terry’s ability to move between photographs and writing, to see how images and texts may be ‘read’ for insights about the world and about what it means to be human.

"it is a book about photography—as a medium; as storytelling device; as portal or memento; as marker of capture, fugivity, or freedom; as site of expression and iterative contemplation; photography as vernacular."
- Oluremi C. Onabanjo

The richly satisfying essays are part memoir, part detective story, part investigative reportage, depicting her quest to unravel, through the few photos remaining, her family’s epic journey across Europe as they flee Nazi occupation, country by country, and then through the Middle East to India, until they finally reach Cape Town, South Africa. Terry Kurgan will be in conversation with notable Vancouver author Lance Berelowitz.

Terry Kurgan received her BAFA from the California School of Arts in San Francisco, her MFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, and her MA in Creative Writing from Wits University in Johannesburg. Her previous books are Johannesburg Circa Now, co-edited with Jo Ractliffe (2005), and Hotel Yeoville (2013). Kurgan has also published many essays on vernacular photography and public-sphere art practice in books and academic journals.

Sponsored by Andrew Gruft & Claudia Beck; Sandy & Michael Hayden

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101 Carrie Cates Court
North Vancouver, BC V7M 3J4

Situated on the unceded territories of the Skwxwú7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh, and xwməθkwəýəm Nations.

The Polygon Gallery continues the forty-year reputation of Presentation House Gallery in engaging the public with the most visionary artists of our time. A new waterfront landmark on Vancouver's North Shore, The Polygon offers a one-of-a-kind space to encounter contemporary visual art with a focus on photography.

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