Grad’s African photos on display at festival

Three years ago, Anice Wong (BFA Spec. Hons. ’04) spent six months in Accra, Ghana, working as a videographer for Crossroads International and other non-governmental organizations. From there, she travelled from the Sahara Desert south to the Lesotho mountains, snapping portraits of people who welcomed her into their lives along the way.

Those portraits will be on display in her new exhibit, You’re Invited, opening Saturday at Vistek Mississauga, 5840 Mavis Rd., and continuing to June 15 as part of the annual Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. The opening reception takes place May 5 from 6 to 8pm and features food and hi-life music.

Right: Tuareg Tea, photographed by Anice Wong 

The title of the exhibit was inspired by the welcoming words Wong often heard whenever Ghanaians sat down to share a meal or snack with her: “You’re invited.” For her, “those words represent the warmth and sense of welcome locals expressed during our brief encounters,” she writes. Her photographs capture the welcoming warmth she encountered everywhere – from being invited to tea in a Tuareg’s home in Mali to being hosted by a Basotho village in the mountains of Lesotho during Christmas and to random “hellos” in the streets of Ghana. The portraits reflect the openness and trust between strangers. 

Wong’s exhibit is among 200 featured in the 2010 CONTACT Photography Festival. The festival theme is pervasive influence, considering the ways in which photography informs and transforms human behaviour.

Since Wong graduated in film & video at York in 2004, she has worked as a cinematographer on films, documentaries and videos. For the past couple of years, she has concentrated on still photography. Click on the "People" and "Travel" tabs on the Anice Wong Web site for a sample of her African portraits.