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Surendra Lawoti
Toronto, Q Award Year: 2002
 
Part of Surendra Lawoti's portfolio
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Shelter 22
Shelter 22
2011
Archival Inkjet Print
40" x 50"

Description: From the series "Don River"
Untitled 1
Untitled 1
2009
Archival Inkjet Print
40" x 50"

Description: From "Don River"
Inside Shelter 2
Inside Shelter 2
2009
Archival Inkjet Print
40" x 30"

Description: This was one of the first shelters that I came across. When I found it, it was already abandoned. Later I ran into Daniel here, who was visiting to see the state his old home of two years. He built this structure and he told me he had quite an elaborate setup until the floods destroyed most of it. Since then, he moved into a city housing in Scarborough and was working part-time as a bike messenger. We met in winter of 2009 and I have not seen him since. The structure is no longer there.
Runners 1
Runners 1
2009
Archival Inkjet Print
40" x 30"

Description: This is one of the first portraits that I made of the recreational users of the bike path, which runs parallel to the river. It was a beautiful but a chilly winter evening. The father and the son along with their dog were happy to be photographed. They were from France.

This portrait was made before I had people sign model releases. So I do not know their names or have their contact information. Later I started asking people to sign model releases. When they sign the releases, I also give them my business card. I tell them if they contact me via email, I can email them a Jpeg of the picture. I have emailed a Jpeg to everybody who has contacted me.

Shelter 8
Shelter 8
2009
Archival Inkjet Print
40" x 50"

Description: This was the sturdiest of the shelters that I have come across. It was made of two-by fours and was built by Paulie. There are over 40 old dumping sites along the Don River and this shelter sits on top one of them. Paulie is an avid bottle digger and has quite an impressive collection of beautiful old bottles and ceramics.

Unknown vandal(s) burned down the shelter in spring of 2010.

Untitled 3 (Chin Sleeping)
Untitled 3 (Chin Sleeping)
2011
Archival Inkjet Print
40" x 50"

Description: Chin is one of the guys who sleep along the river throughout the year, rain or shine or snow.
List of Needs (Inside Sheleter 17)
List of Needs (Inside Sheleter 17)
2009
Archival Inkjet Print
30" x 40"
Shelter 18
Shelter 18
2010
Archival Inkjet Print
40" x 50"

Description: Frenchie used to live here until the floods ruined the shelter. The shores of the Don River get flooded every year when the river swells during heavy rain. That chimney is for a homemade wooden heater and in fact works very efficiently.
Paulie
Paulie
2010
Archival Inkjet Print
30" x 40"

Description: Paulie along with his girlfriend Leslie has been living in a bachelor apartment in East Toronto since February 2011.
Shelter 3 (Spring)
Shelter 3 (Spring)
2009
Archival Inkjet Print
40" x 50"

Description: This structure is situated in an idyllic setting. It is situated on the west side of the river, which is kind of a no manís land where normal recreational users do not (or cannot) venture out. The structure is beautifully tucked amongst branches, foliage and trees. You can find ducks floating on the river and birds chirping. Even though you constantly hear the traffic on Bayview Avenue and the Don Valley Parkway, it feels like you are in far away and a distant place.

The structure had already been abandoned for few years when I first came across it. It was made of wooden planks, glass, tarp and other materials. There was literally room for one regular sized person to lie down and sleep. The structure no longer exists as it got dismantled it during spring of 2010.

Joe
Joe
2009
Archival Inkjet Print
40" x 30"

Description: Joe slept between city-run shelters and this place during spring of 2009. I am not sure where he is now, as I have not seen him since he left the place.
Shelter 13
Shelter 13
20009
Archival Inkjet Print
40" x 50"

Description: This also sits on top of an old dumpsite. Once the rains arrive in summer, this place is unbearably infested with mosquito. Even with the strongest mosquito repellent, I could only be there for so long.