Rita Leistner’s socially and politically engaged photography practice is based on first-hand engagement in the world, in particular on documenting communities in extreme conditions, such as soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, female patients at psychiatric hospitals in war-time, First Nations communities in the Arctic and loggers in Canada. Her hybrid treatment of subjects takes inspiration from each discrete story, creating distinctive, large bodies of work merging art and documentary, and often consisting of books or films in addition to photographs. In 2016, she began photographing and filming tree planters in Canada. A veteran tree planter herself, Leistner planted over 500,000 trees from 1984-1993. “The Tree Planters” photography exhibition premiered in Toronto on October 21, 2017 at the Stephen Bulger Gallery, attracting one of the largest crowds ever to a private gallery in Toronto—some 800 people including over 200 tree planters. Future exhibitions to be announced.
Leistner is currently working on a book, The Tree Planters, with award-winning designer Lisa Kiss; and a film, Forest for the Trees—about tree planting, sustainability, the creative process and the balance between living in the moment and believing in the future—with punk rock icon and producer Ani Kyd Wolf. Rita is returning to the cut-block (the vast swaths of land left behind by logging) for a final season in spring 2019.
Stephen Bulger Gallery
1356 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON, M6J 1Y2 CANADA