Let’s talk about it — Art’s sultry “One Night Stand” that always leaves you wanting more. From Dusk-till-Dawn, Toronto’s Annual Nuit Blanche Festival, was bound to keep you up until daybreak.
By: Breana Adjepong-Duodu
Nuit Blanche is one of the biggest nights in Toronto’s art and culture scene — a festival showcasing art from both local and international artists. With an outstanding variety of exhibits throughout different museums, galleries, and other venues, this event will be sure to have you art-lovers entertained all night long.
TRENDING THEME: WHO AM I?
TO’s highly anticipated free outdoor exhibit runs from 7 pm to the wee hours in the morning showcasing an array of controversial pieces. Transforming streets into gripping works of art, where the beat of the city took over. It featured 31 projects with over 300 local & international artists along with their curators. Crowds from all over gathered at Nathan Philips Square, Toronto City Hall, Dundas Square, all the way to the Toronto Coach Terminal and more, to see the exhibit “Dream Time: We All Have Stories and The Things They Carried.” These riveting pieces were shaking perspectives, ultimately challenging us as Torontonians — concerning the ways we come to know and see ourselves. This was cleverly done, by taking in various reflections & creating dynamic interactive experiences that only functioned when spectators participated.
We can look at adversity with disenchantment or hope, so on Sept 29th, 2018 crowds flooded Bay Street to “get up off of that thang” and dance all their troubles away with old-school beats. “On Flashing Lights “was an immersive exhibit by Brendan Fernandes, curated by Tairone Bastien, where guests moved through a barricade of police cars to find a street party. A sign read, “Is This An Emergency Rave?” where DJ’s from our vivacious LGBTQ and POC communities brought the house down blaring classics like Madonna’s “Get into the Groove,” and “The Beat Goes On.” Carefree couples, singles, of all ages were giggling, jumping and battling it out-showing off their best moves. A break of silence would take place every 49 mins honouring the victims of the Pulse Orlando shooting and those of us still fighting to create safe spaces for all.
Do you ever feel confined by your identity…keeping up appearances to preserve your relationships? “Confessions” was an independent project, created by Concordis, that invited participants to anonymously submit secrets on paper, that was then typed & displayed on large screens for all to see. Speaking freely was a liberating practice for those sharing and a cathartic one for those watching. Despite the sign reading “Warning: This project contains mature content and may not be suitable for all audiences,” it was truly a humanizing experience.
Some of the secrets ranged from “I have no idea what I’m doing with my life,” to “I like the boy beside me” to “My job involves kids, but I secretly dislike them” to “My mother passed & I feel broken” to “I’m high.” The surrounding audience waited in suspense for each confession to drop and each time the room would fill with collective aww’s, solemn whimpers, or thunderous laughter. In our large urban city full of people, it can ironically be easy to feel isolated or alone. So there we were, standing unified from the raw truths spoken from the heart.
A tremendous amount of work goes into Nuit Blanche, usually taking up to 12 months to organize. This year marked the festivals 13th anniversary, and so, in its honor, it was expanded to Scarborough with a project titled “Everything I Wanted to Tell You.” Exploring personal and collective histories of residents, among them, were stories of recent immigrants some of which are marginalized or often silenced. That night made something clear; We come under one tribe as Torontonians, regardless of our ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or even our fashion choices and appearances. In that moment, we were all united under one true cause, our individuality and the movement of art. Some of us were there to be heard and for that one night, everyone was listening.
Nuit Blanche is truly an unforgettable experience, not only showcasing the city’s culture and talents but is an experience that brings Torontonians together as well — Demonstrating the different aspects of individuality, uniqueness, and experiences that make you feel, while also uniting us through the main reason everyone attended — admiration of art, and positive social interaction.
If you haven’t checked out the all-nighter’s art festival, don’t sulk — there’s one every year in the fall, make sure to visit the next one! For more information on the festival as well as the variety of artists and curators, visit their website at www.nbto.com.
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