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Nuit Blanche in Winnipeg

Nuit Blanche is a night of discovery, wonder and wandering. People from all over the city head to the downtown streets in droves. There is art and more than art during Nuit Blanche, including music, crafts, bike jams, night markets, performance art and interactive installations. Anyone can unofficially participate by dressing up, or through engaging with some of the works.

So how does one end up participating in Nuit Blanche? For people like Rob Knaggs, it is about who you know. Knaggs is an Australian cellist with a passion for Churchill. Artist Kal Barteski invited him to play a concert as part of her Back Alley Arctic project.

“I met Kal years and years ago, and we were spinning ideas on how to create art for Churchill,” Knaggs says. “She started creating this community event called Back Alley Arctic ... she wanted to paint a polar bear on this garage, and she just kept going, and now she has about 110 animals. She invited me to participate in Nuit Blanche this year, because my music is very Churchill-centric.”

After studying in Australia, Knaggs ended up in Churchill, where he found inspiration for his music. This was Knaggs’ first-ever Nuit Blanche, and it may be his last one in Winnipeg for a while.

“I am leaving Canada, unfortunately. My visa is expiring in November. I’m organizing an EP launch and farewell party,” Knaggs says. But this one night will leave him with some lasting memories. He appreciates that Barteski’s event was “very DIY and community-based.”

“It was awesome, being able to play on a rooftop and look down ... it was  the largest stage I’ve ever been on,” Knaggs says.

“At the end when I was doing my whale song, Kal ran upstairs behind me and set off a smoke bomb,” Knaggs says. “I  heard someone running up the stairs behind me and thought this could be bad ... it was magical.”

Cellist Rob Knaggs at his 7 p.m. rooftop performance as part of Back Alley Arctic.

A spraypainted label marks Kal Barteski's work.

Work by Kal Barteski.

Rob Knaggs' cello show atop a garage embellished with Barteski's whale

As part of Synonym Art Consultation's finale of their Wall-to-Wall mural fest, Toronto artist birdO painted this mural in The Forks parkade.

Nuit Blanche explorers interact with architectural installations in The Forks parkade.

Out after dark on the streets of Winnipeg for Nuit Blanche.

Visitors are interacting with architectural pieces provided by the Winnipeg Design Festival at The Forks parkade.

An art installation at the Forks parkade.

Architectural pieces at The Forks parkade.

Run for Your Lite is a human-sized wheel that participants could turn in order to power a blacksmith's forge.

Lit balloon-type objects at The Forks.

Published in Volume 73, Number 5 of The Uniter (October 4, 2018)

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