Greater than the sum of its arts

Rayannah’s ephemeral Nuit Blanche experience

Local artist Rayannah’s Nuit Blanche show HYPERART brought a variety of art and performance media to Théâtre Cercle Molière. (Supplied photo)

Should you wander near Provencher during the night of cultured revelry that is Nuit Blanche, you may find yourself in an ethereal space where the boundaries between art and aesthete are blurred. But fear not. Local artiste extraordinaire Rayannah can lend a guiding hand.

HYPERART, described as a “multidisciplinary campus” by artistic director Rayannah, melded several different art forms for an immersive and interactive experience on Sept. 24.

HYPERART featured Henry Onwuchekwa, Alpha Toshineza, Caro LaFlamme and The Bannock Babes, among others, to showcase dance, drag, music and visual arts.

“In several cases, artists are doing installations and collaborations that are for that night only, which is an exciting part of that project to me, that it’s a license to try new things,” Rayannah says.

“What I’m hoping people will get out of it is this feeling that there’s art coming out of every corner, and that they can choose how they want to interact with it.”

The idea for the project was conceived during Rayannah’s correspondence with Chilean psychedelic power trio La Julia Smith, who also performed.

“It was sort of a snowball effect. Through the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre (CCFM), we were talking about ways that we could bring the band to Winnipeg for the first time, and then we had thought why not in the context of Nuit Blanche,” Rayannah says.

Andrew Eastman, co-founder of Synonym Art Consultation and Wall-to-Wall Mural & Culture Festival, was excited to take part in the event.

“Annually, Wall-to-Wall partners with Urban Shaman Gallery and sākihiwē to bring together innovative performance acts for our big finale,” Eastman says in an email to The Uniter.“We were looking for a venue to host this event and reached out to Théâtre Cercle Molière, and they connected us with our long-time collaborator Rayannah.”

The HYPERART experience is a sort of large-scale performance art diptych, comprising two main components: one inside the venue and one outside.

“Our outdoor spaces are sort of celebratory. They’re a little chaotic,” Rayannah says. “The way I’ve described it is that it’s the sensation of (being) at a public pool (with) your head above water. You hear all the sounds and the echoing sounds of everyone around you. And then, going inside, it’s like if you pull your head under water. Suddenly, it’s just you, and it’s like your experience alone.”

For Rayannah, a Franco-Manitoban who grew up visiting and showcasing works at CCFM, the location holds a special significance. In the name of inclusivity, the project boasts a diversity of staff equal to the diversity of its artistic disciplines.

“In my relationship with being Franco-Manitoban, it’s important to have our community be as open as possible. (Francophonie) has always been a part of my life, and it’s always something that I cherish, so I’m happy to have it be at the heart of this,” Rayannah says.

“It’s just really beautiful and cool to have so many different groups coming together for this show, and I feel really lucky to get to do that.”

Published in Volume 77, Number 04 of The Uniter (September 29, 2022)

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