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The Portrait Gallery of Canada in collaboration with the Canada Science and Technology Museum to host a Centennial Celebration for Yousuf Karsh

OTTAWA, November 27, 2008 – The Portrait Gallery of Canada, a program of Library and Archives Canada, and the Canada Science and Technology Museum today honour the 100th anniversary of the birth of renowned photographer, Yousuf Karsh, and reach out to Canadians to hear their own Karsh stories. The event takes place at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa, on Thursday, November 27, 2008, at 9:30 a.m.

"This chance to celebrate Yousuf Karsh's 100th anniversary will let us salute one of Canada's greatest 20th-century portraitists by inviting Canadians to remember how, even as his fame grew, he stayed close to the people of his beloved city. We want to hear their stories as they may have known him, and see the portraits that he made of them," said Lilly Koltun, Director General of the Portrait Gallery of Canada.

This event also marks the launch of My Karsh, an opportunity for Canadians to share their own Karsh photographs and stories, either by posting them to a My Karsh Flickr group, or by sending them to the Portrait Gallery of Canada. Images and stories will be considered for potential inclusion in the major exhibition, Karsh the Storyteller, which will be on view at the Canada Science and Technology Museum as the centrepiece of Festival Karsh in Ottawa from June 12 to October 12, 2009. During today's event three people who have themselves been "Karshed" will show their own Karsh portrait and recall their personal experience.

"The Canada Science and Technology Museum is the keeper of Karsh's professional equipment including cameras, lights and darkroom tools," said Claude Faubert, Director General, Canada Science and Technology Museum. "We are delighted to collaborate with the Portrait Gallery of Canada and to share with all Canadians the stories of Yousuf Karsh and his work during this, his centennial year."

Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) is widely recognized as Canada's leading portrait photographer of the 20th century. Born in Mardin, Turkish Armenia on December 23, 1908, Karsh opened his first Ottawa studio in 1933. By the time he closed the studio doors at the Chateau Laurier six decades later, Yousuf Karsh had created photographic portraits of more than 11,000 leading local, national and international sitters. He welcomed sittings of ordinary residents of the National Capital Region-soldiers, children and debutantes-and worked as a wedding, passport and advertising photographer.

Festival Karsh is a collaboration between the Portrait Gallery of Canada, a program of Library and Archives Canada, and the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

The Portrait Gallery of Canada is dedicated to showcasing the men and women who have helped shape and continue to shape our country. Through exhibitions, collections and programming, the Portrait Gallery reflects the values which define Canada and which continue to provide an enduring basis for our country's vision of nationhood now, and into the future. For more information, visit:

Sharing Canada's rich collections of objects related to transportation, natural resources, communications, space, energy, manufacturing and industry, the Canada Science and Technology Museum helps Canadians explore the rich connections among science, technology, and culture. For more information, visit:

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Pauline M. Portelance

Senior Media Relations
Library and Archives Canada

Kelly Ray
Media and Public Relations Officer
Canada Science and Technology Museum