Kayla Ward I Am Easy To Find

Nov 7–Dec 9,  2023
CONTACT Gallery ⁠ accessible_forward
    Kayla Ward, Stacks, 2023. Courtesy of the artist
Kayla Ward, Stacks, 2023. Courtesy of the artist

Driven by her sense of disconnection from a childhood home, Toronto-based artist Kayla Ward uses photography to navigate the psychological and emotional layers that shape her sense of place and belonging. I Am Easy to Find presents a series of photographs and collages made between 2020 and 2023, in which the artist investigates her fragile connection to domestic spaces and longing for familial bonds through imagery featuring dwellings, home interiors, family heirlooms, and obscured self-portraits.

Kayla Ward, Broken Glass, 2023. Courtesy of the artist

The recurring theme throughout the exhibition is the spectre of the artist, as both a child and an adult, living under tenuous conditions. Ward’s childhood photos appear in several works, alluding to the concept of home, while the depiction of an actual house takes the form of either an abandoned dwelling or a crumbling structure. In Heirloom #1 and Heirloom #2, the artist constructs makeshift family keepsakes, creating teetering, temporary monuments that suggest the artist’s sense of uncertainty and detachment from a personal history. The image Stacks depicts a woman in a light, sleeveless dress standing in the cold winter air, precariously holding a stack of wood; this is presented alongside the work Doe Behind Broken Glass—in each, the central figures appear to be “caught in the headlights,” drawing a parallel that emphasizes vulnerability.

The ephemeral connections between the photographs, collages, and the imagery depicted posit a sense of feeling unloved, and uncover acts of self-care performed in order to find comfort. Through seeking, finding, disassembling, and reassembling, Ward attempts to construct a new cut-and-paste “home,” while also paying homage to the troublesome realities of her past. Her generative symbols of discomfort define a broken road map to a fabricated environment that for her, represents not only alienation, but also desire for familial bonds and healing.

This exhibition is a CONTACT Student Award Exhibition selected from work made by fourth-year students in the Creative School's BFA Photography Program, at Toronto Metropolitan University. Coordinated by Bahar Kamali. The exhibition is supported by Toronto Image Works in partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Kayla Ward is an artist and photographer, interested in ideas of truth, materiality, perception, and collective/personal memory. Her practice explores the process of mythmaking and the relationship between experience and image.