Toronto announces new Photo Laureate Nadya Kwandibens

Nadya Kwandibens, Toronto Photo Laureate
Nadya Kwandibens, Toronto Photo Laureate

TORONTO – Nadya Kwandibens has been recommended to be Toronto’s third Photo Laureate, pending approval by City Council at its March 29 meeting. Kwandibens was put forward for the role by a selection panel from Toronto’s photography and visual arts community. Kwandibens is the first Indigenous Photo Laureate for Toronto.

Nadya Kwandibens, Toronto Photo Laureate states, “It is an honour to be appointed the next Photo Laureate for the City of Toronto. Aapichigo miigwech / thank you very much to the City and to those who served on the selection panel. I recognize that this position comes with a great responsibility. As an ambassador for visual arts in the city, I look forward to connecting with the artist community as a whole and joining in the amplification of dialogue and narratives; exploring the diverse artistic practices of artists in the city; and reflecting on all the intersections that such a multi-faceted opportunity as this requires.”

Kwandibens is Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) from the Animakee Wa Zhing #37 First Nation in northwestern Ontario. She is an award-winning portrait and events photographer and a Canon Ambassador. Her photography has been exhibited in group and solo shows across Canada and the United States. Kwandibens is the founder of Red Works Photography, a dynamic photography company empowering contemporary Indigenous lifestyles and cultures through photographic essays, features, and portraits.  More information on Red Works Photography can be found at
Toronto is the only city in Canada with a Photo Laureate. The position of the City of Toronto Photo Laureate honours a photographer who is recognized by their peers for artistic excellence and for making a major contribution to photography through their work. Toronto’s Photo Laureate serves as an advocate for visual culture, art photography and photojournalism, using their unique perspective to create a dialogue on contemporary issues.
Once formally appointed, Kwandibens will hold the position for three years and will receive an annual honorarium of $10,000 for her service to the city. As part of the duties, Kwandibens will develop a legacy project in collaboration with the City.
In recommending Kwandiben’s appointment, the selection panel cited her many artistic accolades, the opportunity to advance important community dialogues through work, and their confidence that she would excel as an ambassador for the visual arts.
More information about the Toronto Photo Laureate and its programs is available on the Photo Laureate webpage:
“Congratulations to Nadya Kwandibens for being selected as Toronto’s Photo Laureate. Nadya has already made major contributions to photography through her work showcasing contemporary Indigenous lifestyles and cultures. I have no doubt that her empowering work will continue to spark dialogue throughout her three-year tenure as Photo Laureate,” says Councillor Shelley Carroll (Don Valley North), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
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