What we do
Contra is a not-for-profit annual magazine and arts organisation that explores the complex relationship between visual culture and conflict.
Conflict, in all forms, continues to inform the work of artists, photographers and other visual practitioners. From traditional photojournalism to the live streaming of global events, the image has the power to influence policy, shape public opinion and even spark us into action.
Through our printed publications, community outreach projects and events programme, Contra aims to raise awareness of various forms of conflict through investigating the role of the image. Beyond the pages of our own publication, we seek to make a tangible difference on the ground and positively impact our community.
Contra seeks to establish a network of cross cultural exchange, support young and emerging artists and promote dialogue and debate.
By providing a platform for marginalised voices, we aim to help those who have been directly affected by conflict.
Issue 01, titled Displacement, looks at the visual response to current and past migrations. Published in January 2018, it features contributors such as dancer-choreographer Akram Khan, photographer Harley Weir, and Turner Prize nominees Forensic Architecture and Oscar Murillo.
Issue 02, themed around Protest, explores how visual culture engages with and reacts to different forms of resistance. Published in April 2019, it features contributors such as Kara Walker, Olafur Eliasson, Santiago Sierra, Seamus Murphy and Raqs Media Collective.
Issue 03 Ruin, published in November 2020, offers a fresh interpretation of the theme of ruin, bringing together stories of destruction and demise, but also of revival and regeneration. Contributors include Simon Norfolk, Cornelia Parker, Nadav Kander, Michael Rakowitz, Keith Piper, Giles Price, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Sonia Boyce, Nick Brandt, Alina Negoita, the Gentle Author and many more.
Alongside the publication, we run an ongoing events and community outreach programme that forms an integral part of what we do. These events take the form of film screenings, panel discussions, exhibitions, workshops, artist residencies and more. Keep posted on our social media channels for news about what’s coming up.
Who we are
We are a group of passionate volunteers with a varied background in publishing, events, filmmaking and research. The idea to form Contra derived from a shared interest in representations of conflict and a belief that accessible critical analysis of this topic is missing within everyday encounters with media.
Angelique De Raffaele
Design by All Purpose
Distributed by Antenne Books
“Through the combination of captivating photo essays and insights
into the thoughts of well-known creatives, Contra Journal utilises
art and design to create a platform that communicates stories and
champions unheard voices”
It’s Nice That
“Numerous new art publications pop up every year, and some
stand out more than others. Contra… certainly has a USP”
The Art Newspaper
“Issue 01 of Contra was one of our favourite launches last year”
“I was really impressed by the way Contra drills down into the
issues it covers and looks at them from a human perspective,
resulting in content that has a real resonance.”
Chief Executive, Refugee Council
“The very opposite of the cut and paste zine of resistance, Contra’s calm glossy pages belie its powerful message.”
An in-depth interview with the Contra founders published by Dazed can be found here.
Artwords Bookshop Limited [Broadway Market, London]
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Basheer Graphic Books [Singapore]
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Housman's Bookshop [London]
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Multi-Arts Corporation [Taipei]
Photographers Gallery [London]
Print Matters! [Zurich]
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Rare Mags [Stockport]
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What we do