Into the night and beyond Nuit Blanche extends reach as artists light up the city

Nuit Blanche Winnipeg kicks off Friday and organizers have done their darndest to ensure the annual art party is virtually pandemic-proof.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/09/2021 (440 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Nuit Blanche Winnipeg kicks off Friday and organizers have done their darndest to ensure the annual art party is virtually pandemic-proof.

Last year’s all-night event — which was set to take place in late September — was revamped at the 11th hour to meet public health guidelines.

“We didn’t want a repeat of that,” says Jennifer Cheslock, general manager of Culture Days Manitoba, which organizes Nuit Blanche. “So we thought early about how we could present an opportunity for artists to share their work and audiences to check out art installations in a way that would still be able to go forward, no matter the situation.”

Instead of cramming everything into one night, Nuit Blanche will again join Culture Days in a month-long celebration from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24. The majority of events will be presented outdoors, online or as window displays viewable from the street.

Paul Robles is hoping to bring some entertainment back to Old Market Square by way of giant inflatable monkeys.

“It’s normally a lively area, but it’s been quiet for the last (18) months,” says Robles, who is known for his intricate cut paper artwork. “That was kind of intriguing to me.”

Supplied Luv Lite is an Nuit Blanche Winnipeg Illuminate the Night project by Joshua Banman that will utilize TV screens at the Exchange District BIZ.

See Hear Speak is made up of four 15-foot-tall inflatable sculptures emblazoned with black and red primates climbing on top of each other. The installation, funded by the Winnipeg Arts Council, will be open to the public day and night between Sept. 25 and Oct. 3.

This is Robles’ first time making inflatable art; though, he’s always been fascinated by the whimsy of the medium.

“It’s a totally different way of working — it’s very epic,” he says, adding that his wall art tends to be quite pensive. “You sort of have to stare at them for a while, whereas this inflatable is sort of jolly and fun.”

Robles is working with a manufacturer in Ontario to bring the design to life.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Artist Paul Robles’ installation for Nuit Blanche, See Hear Speak, will be made up of four 15-foot-tall inflatable sculptures emblazoned with black and red primates climbing on top of each other.

Long-distance collaboration is a new experience for the visual artist, who is used to working solo and cutting his work by hand.

But new feels good right now. Robles lost his art studio — and much of his work — in the July 2019 warehouse fire on Jarvis Avenue. As a result, he’s spent the pandemic playing with new mediums and reinventing his style.

“It was a silver lining because I kind of started over,” he says. “I’m actually having a lot of fun and I’m rediscovering a lot of my interests.”

SUPPLIED Robles’ inflatable sculpture

A new pandemic routine is also what inspired local artist hannah_g to create Waterline — a video dance performance that will be projected onto a partially submerged screen in The Forks harbour from Sept. 24 to 26.

The calm of her early morning walks along the Assiniboine River were regularly interrupted by fish jumping, ducks splashing and bubbles floating up from the depths.

“I was really beguiled by the river and the amount of activity on it,” she says. “One morning, I just had this really strong vision… of a projection of dancers looking as if they’re coming in and out of the water.”

Hannah, former director of Winnipeg’s aceartinc gallery, worked with local choreographer Rachel Cooper to realize her vision. The project was funded by the Manitoba Arts Council and filmed with a small crew over two days at the Gas Station Theatre — which kindly allowed them to build a pool in the venue.

The resulting film will run on a loop after sundown from 8 to 11 p.m. all weekend. While Waterline wasn’t purpose-built for Nuit Blanche, Hannah is glad to be taking part.

Jordan Popowich Artist hannah_g’s Waterline will be exhibited at The Forks during the opening weekend of Nuit Blanche and Culture Days.

“It feels really well-managed and it feels like a gentle way to invite people to have their imaginations replenished,” she says. “These little pockets of the unexpected feed us in a way that I think is really important — and I think that’s been missed.”

There are 33 events taking place under the Nuit Blanche Winnipeg banner this year and more than 144 Culture Days events registered across the province. Last year, roughly 38,000 Manitobans attended the festivities — down from 67,000 in 2019 — and general manager Jennifer Cheslock is hopeful Culture Days will rebound in the future.

“It’s so important, the role that arts and culture play in well-being,” she says. “We’re glad to be able to present this small opportunity for Winnipeggers and Manitobans… to get some of that back in their lives.”

Visit culturedays.ca/en/mb for a full list of events.

eva.wasney@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @evawasney

 

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Supplied Supplied Bias Outside the Box is an Illuminate the Night photography installation by Rehman Abdulrehman and Ian McCausland that will be on display at multiple locations, including the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.
Eva Wasney

Eva Wasney
Arts Reporter

Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Illuminating artwork

Each year, Nuit Blanche Winnipeg hosts an open call for artists to create work around the theme of Illuminate the Night. Below are this year’s jury selected projects, which will be on display from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24, unless otherwise specified. Visit nuitblanchewinnipeg.ca for more details.

Exchange District:

PanoptiBot: Defacement in the Surveillance Age – An interactive digital installation that will make visitors think twice about surveillance capitalism; Little Brown Jug, 339 William Ave.

Each year, Nuit Blanche Winnipeg hosts an open call for artists to create work around the theme of Illuminate the Night. Below are this year’s jury selected projects, which will be on display from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24, unless otherwise specified. Visit nuitblanchewinnipeg.ca for more details.

Exchange District:

PanoptiBot: Defacement in the Surveillance Age – An interactive digital installation that will make visitors think twice about surveillance capitalism; Little Brown Jug, 339 William Ave.

Luv Lite – Television screens and a hidden camera fill this window display, waiting for passersby to stop for a closer look; the Exchange District BIZ, 492 Main St.

Resiliency in Joy – A garden of glass and light grows in a window display; Tara Davis Studio Boutique, 246 McDermot Ave.

Scopophobia – In this short film, two actresses become ensnared in a power struggle when they must compete for a single self image; Outdoor screening, 35 King St. (Sept. 25 only)

Downtown:

Bias Outside the Box (BOB) – An online learning personal tool based on psychology and photography; Multiple venues

The Forks:

Look Up, Look Down – Still images and video clips of Manitoba landscapes played simultaneously on multiple screens; Travel Manitoba, 21 Forks Market Rd.

West End:

April Dawn-95 – A window art installation that explores the artist’s adoption and Indigenous ancestry; 522 Sargent Ave.

stay | flame postcard from my home – A colour-shifting video of a ceiling fan inspired by the coronavirus pandemic; Five Stones, 528 Sargent Ave.

St. Boniface:

“a quiet place” – Large handmade clouds and a full moon are suspended from the ceiling and illuminated; Théâtre Cercle Molière, 340 Provencher Blvd.

A Flamboyance Of Flamingos – An ode to the ‘80s and a gathering of pink neon flamingos; Théâtre Cercle Molière, 340 Provencher Blvd.

History

Updated on Thursday, September 23, 2021 9:06 AM CDT: Adds title to name in cutline

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