Moyra Davey, The Faithful (detail), 2013, 12 chromogenic prints, tape, postage, ink;

Moyra Davey: The Faithful

A new exhibition featuring the work of one Canada’s most innovative conceptual artists.

Since her first exhibition at Ottawa’s SAW Gallery in 1984, Moyra Davey has continued to push the boundaries between photography, film, text and the human experience.

This new exhibition features 54 photographs and 6 films by Davey, along with more than a dozen works from the Gallery collection. Developed by the artist, with National Gallery of Canada curator Andrea Kunard, the exhibition explores the artist’s trajectory from early images of family and friends, through portraits of the detritus of everyday life, her mailed photographs, and films examining the work of authors, philosophers and artists. 

One of the exhibition’s highlights is Davey’s new film, i confess, and related photographs reflecting upon her memories of life in Quebec during the Seventies and Eighties.


Thursday, October 1, 2020 Sunday, January 3, 2021


National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1N 9N4


About the Artist

 confess, (video still), 2019. HD video with sound;

i confess, (video still), 2019. HD video with sound; 56:46 min. Collection of the artist; courtesy greengrassi, London, and Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/New York. © Moyra Davey. Photo: courtesy the artist

Born in Toronto, Moyra Davey’s early images featured friends and family, followed by an interest in the detritus of daily life, such as whiskey bottles and stacks of vinyl records.

One of her early series, Copperheads (1990), featured enlarged close-ups of worn one-cent coins, reflecting the impact of human agency on everyday objects. Exploring similar themes, her well-known folded prints, initiated in 2009, consist of photographs that were taped together and mailed to galleries and friends, sometimes with text added. The returned photographs — creased and with bits of tape still visible — were then unfolded by Davey and assembled into grids.

In the mid-2000s, Davey began focusing on film. Comprising clips of loosely connected moving images, Davey’s films incorporate a personal narrative that functions almost as an interior monologue. Merging her own experiences with those of well-known artists, writers and philosophers, Davey’s films are reflections on the nature of existence, thought, and the human condition.

Davey has had solo exhibitions across North America and Europe, and her work can be found in numerous major public and private collections. She has also produced numerous artist’s books and publications. Moyra Davey lives and works in New York City.

Moyra Davey and the National Gallery of Canada Photography Collection

The exhibition also features historical photographs from the Gallery collection, including works by Eugène Atget, Julia Margaret Cameron, Walker Evans and Joyce Wieland.

Julia Margaret Cameron, Mrs. Duckworth (Mrs. Leslie Stephen), April 1867, albumen silver print.

Julia Margaret Cameron, Mrs. Duckworth (Mrs. Leslie Stephen), April 1867, albumen silver print, 27.4 x 21.9 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo: NGC

Eugène Atget, Saint-Cloud, Acacia, c. 1919–1921, albumen silver print.

Eugène Atget, Saint-Cloud, Acacia, c. 1919–1921, albumen silver print, 17.2 x 21.3. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo: NGC

Walker Evans Subway Portrait, c. 1938‑1941 gelatin silver print.

Walker Evans Subway Portrait, c. 1938‑1941 gelatin silver print, 20 x 25.2 cm Gift of Phyllis Lambert, Montreal, 1982 National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Photo: NGC

Featured Videos

Listen to Moyra Davey as she talks about her creative process and the themes that inspire her work.

Moyra Davey "I often reflect on the process of making''



Moyra Davey Conversation

Canadian artist Moyra Davey talks with Andrea Kunard, Assistant Curator of Photographs, about her career and the artists and writers who inspire her.

Saturday Spotlight Tour – Moyra Davey: The Faithful

Join Andrea Kunard, Associate Curator of Photographs, for an overview of the exhibition.

Welcome to Moyra Davey: The Faithful

National Gallery of Canada Director and CEO Sasha Suda welcomes you to our new exhibition.


Installation Views


Related Content




Based on Davey’s eponymous 2019 film, this deeply personal and highly political book seeks to examine an unresolved chapter of Québécois history from a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective that draws attention to contemporary issues of separatism, while reflecting the artist’s understanding of photography and text as unique corollaries.

With writings by Moyra Davey, Ottawa-based political philosopher Dalie Giroux and National Gallery of Canada’s Associate Curator Andrea Kunard, and a poster insert. Bilingual | Paperback | 168 pages (90 illustrations)

Learn More


Supported by

Scotiabank Photography Program