12 Toronto Artists

Since 2006, Toronto has been turned into an enormous all-night art gallery thanks to Nuit Blanche.

The festival, which started in Paris in 2006, fills the Canadian city with exhibitions from world class artists from 7pm to 7am, allowing all residents to roam the streets and open their minds.

And this year’s Nuit Blanche (meaning Sleepless Night) on 29 September – with the theme ‘You Are Here’ – will transform the city like never before.

Jeanne Holmes, Programming Supervisor at City Cultural Events at City of Toronto, told

Metro.co.uk: ‘One of our team went to Nuit Blanche in Paris and participated in the event there. They brought it back to Toronto and presented it as an opportunity – it was supposed to be just a one-off event in 2006. That first year, 450,000 people came out, and it was so well-received that the mayor at that time said we needed to do it every year. 2018 will be our 13th iteration of the event. It has grown quite a lot from those early days. Audience wise, about 1.2 people come for the 12 hours of the event.

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‘This year what is new for us is that we’re moving one of our exhibitions to Scarborough, to the east of the city. Karen’s exhibition and another exhibition will be downtown, and then there’ll be another exhibition area in Scarborough. In addition to that, there’ll be projects in some of the underground stations to provide a transitional experience for people heading downtown.’

>>> Ai Weiwei Exhibition at Nuit Blance
Artists including Ai Weiwei have contributed to the exhibitions in previous years (Picture: PR)

Each year, new contemporary artists bring their visions to the streets of Toronto, and this year, British artist Karen Alexander is curating one of the exhibitions, entitled We All Have Stories.

Consisiting of ‘sonic meditations, large-screen projections, architectural installations, sculptural interventions and live performances’, will use art ‘to explore place and identity’.

She told us: ‘I’ve got six artists from the UK, two from Canada and one from Ghana. It’s not a flying flag for Britannia kind of thing, it’s really trying to look at the connections and similar experiences between people. We want to have conversations where we can look at similarities and explore differences.’

With Toronto as a canvas, you would imagine the scale of the art would be the most difficult part of curating an exhibition at Nuit Blanche, but Karen said that the main objective is to make the art accessible for the masses.

>>> Nuit Blanche
It’s important that the art is accessible (Picture: PR)

She explained: ‘The most difficult part is how you make it relevant to people who are not so familiar with art and the art gallery experience. Art in the public realm, it’s something people are familiar with but it tends to be statues and events that last longer than 12 hours.

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‘But it’s really important to make it relevant to the people of Toronto. The artists are all using Toronto as their research material, so they can engage people and make them look at Toronto in a different way.

‘They make it their own and explore artworks that may not have been open to them. They can pick and mix, if they don’t like it, they can move on. It makes people a lot more exploratory.’

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Jeanne added: ‘We worked really hard to lower the barrier as much as we can – it’s free, which is an important part of our mandate. A number of the audience – probably 50 to 60% of the audience – would never go to visit a gallery or a museum. Some people are experiencing visual art for the first time. You get to show your art to people and talk to people you never would have met before. And if I were in a gallery, I’d rarely turn to the person behind me and ask what they thought of a piece.

‘We don’t dumb down the exhibitions in any way, though, just because people may not be familiar. We’ve had established artists who have introduced new works of art at Nuit Blanche to a new audience of people.’

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Nuit Blanche takes place this year in Toronto on 29 September. For more information, visit their website.

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Source : https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/07/dont-dumb-art-streets-toronto-become-gallery-nuit-blanche-2018-7811216/

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