O'Born Contemporary


The Rift

Dominic Nahr, Solo Exhibition

April 25 – May 31, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, April 25, 6 – 9 PM

View Works from Artist Catalogue



I remember the first time I set foot in Africa. I landed in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, and before my heel touched the ground I had the overwhelming sensation that I was home. I was naïve but I held on to a sense of wonder, which I allow and, really, need when first experiencing a place. Since then, I have explored the continent from east to west and north to south. The familiarity and comfort of being "home" struck me most clearly in the east where the Great Rift Valley fractures the land. Observing the geological structure, I felt my core breached and my imagination excited. Below me, a long and vast fracture tore the earth apart, the richness of the continent's minerals exploding to the surface. It remains an emotional parallel to my experience of Africa.

The Rift Valley has become a startling metaphor for the balancing act upon which life on Earth is contingent. The richness of resource, originating from rainfall, deep bodies of water, fertile volcanic soil, and biological diversity, stands in violent contrast to the socio-political unrest and desperate needs of an overly dense population. Africa's people are not only at arms over land and other human necessities, but also the tribes comprising the populous of the Rift have competing loyalties and agendas.

This body of work is a journey through many parts of the Great Rift Valley, which I have called my home. It is composed of the places I went, the people I met and the beautiful and horrific magic that is held here in the cradle of life.

about the artist

Dominic Nahr works with a strong and unwavering gaze, aiming to document and disseminate images of actions that must not be continued or forgotten. He is intent on reporting certain and unflinching narratives about natural catastrophes, civil unrest and crimes inflicted in the pursuit of protecting physical and psychological borders.

Nahr was raised in Hong Kong where he established himself as a photojournalist with South China Morning Post. He relocated to Toronto and subsequently graduated from Ryerson University in 2008.

Nahr has been honoured with several prestigious awards, including The Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award. He has been selected as one of the 'Top 30 under 30 photographers' by PDN magazine and has been exhibited at Visa Pour l'Image in Perpignan, France. Nahr was selected to take part in 2010's Joop Swart Masterclass in Holland and received grants from the Pulitzer Center and the Emergency Fund.

Dominic Nahr joined Magnum Photos as a nominee in July 2010. He is a contract photographer for Time magazine and represented by O'Born Contemporary in Toronto. Nahr currently resides in Nairobi, Kenya.