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Ryerson is a school known to be a changemaker and a champion for creativity and diversity, always pushing forward ideas and creating safe spaces for artists.
Photography graduate Jason Perreault is adding to this with his first solo show, Bien dans sa peau, which is set to open on Oct. 24 at the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC).
Bien dans sa peau, which translates to “being comfortable in your own skin,” is a project close to Perreault, who said it’s taken one year and 13 collaborating artists to make the show come together.
“I did so much work on it and then I finally found my niche, which was among the LGBTQ+ community,” said Perreault, who graduated a few months ago.
According to the RIC website, the exhibition highlights “genderqueer people and embraces their many and varied characteristics through the tropes of contemporary fashion photography.”
The exhibition was inspired by the one-sided representation found in the fashion industry and commercial ads, specifically the representation of the heterosexual person.
Perreault, a Montreal native, said he creates a dialogue in his work that diverts from any traditional ideas surrounding fashion photography.
“The work that I do is usually trying to speak to a community that usually has a muted voice,” he said. “I always liked to have a strong motif when I create images and try to be impactful,” he explained.
Perreault’s images come with a politically charged message, yet offer a moment of stillness in vulnerability and intimacy.
Sara Angelucci, a photography professor at Ryerson and curator for Bien dans sa peau, praises Perreault for his dedication and teamwork, both throughout the exhibition and his studies.
“This project brings together students from the photography studies, fashion design, new media, and fashion communications programs,” she said. “From a contemporary issues perspective, this project ー and Jason himself ー brings attention to the LGBTQ community at Ryerson and beyond.”
She adds that Perreault is creating images that “question, challenge and complicate gender binary representation,” which is not often seen in fashion photography.
While it is not common for the RIC to showcase students’ work so soon after graduation, Perreault’s message is one the community can connect with in a open setting.
“It felt really uplifting and really good to be a part of the Ryerson community,” he said. “It’s comforting to be supported by your school, especially when you put so much work and money into what you do.”
Bien dans sa peau runs from Oct. 24 to Dec. 9 and is free entry.