Pelts, powwows & projection art

Second iteration of Artsfest promises a wide array of exhibits and performances

Freya Olafson


Rest assured: Artsfest is a far more exciting event than what the rather underwhelming name might suggest. The gargantuan festival, now entering its second year, features everything from Ancient Roman artifacts to oral history workshops, powwow presentations and a life-sized fully functioning catapult. Check out these artists and more at the University of Winnipeg’s Artsfest.

Willow Rector: 

It’s pretty ideal that two of Willow Rector’s works are being displayed in Gallery 1C03. There’s the obvious connection: she did her BA at the UW and instructed in the English department for seven years. But the duo of exhibits - This is a Photography of Me, and Trapped - are also intimately linked.

The first of the pair - an intricate, hand stitched tapestry - was inspired by time she spent at Clear Lake. Meanwhile, Trapped features similarly detailed embroideries on the pelts of animals that live in and around the same lake: a mink, otter and skunk are among the canvases. It’s taken a full two years to create.

“The image depicted on the animal is the place where the animal would’ve been at home, or most happy to be,” she says. “It has a lot to do with understanding and honouring these animals, and recognizing them as part of the landscape as well.” 

Willow Rector’s artist talk is in Room 2M70 from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm on Friday, Sept. 26.

Andraea Sartison: 

It’s taken almost half a year to organize Artsfest. It makes good sense why: dozens of different events encompassing many University departments have to be booked well in advance. But Andraea Sartison, the festival’s producer, makes it all work out. Nuit Blanche, held on Saturday, Sept. 27, is a prime example.

“We’re lighting up all of Wesley Hall with all sorts of projection art,” she says. “We’re having bands. There’ll be chalk artist who’s going to lead a collaborative art piece that will be lit by black light. Then we’re going to have a bunch of games. It’ll be a nice party really close by to the WAG, where the big Nuit Blanche event is.”

Nuit Blanche at U of W takes place on Saturday, Sept. 27 on the front lawn of Wesley Hall from 9 pm to 11 pm

Freya Olafson:

Since graduating from the UW and the School of Contemporary Dancers, Freya Olafson has become nationally renown for exploring the intersections of movement, physical theatre and new media. Her previous show, Avatar, used blue screening extensively while her latest work, Hyper, only furthers the experimentation. 

“In Avatar, you see the tools I’m using,” Olafson explains. “In Hyper, it’s a little more about the magic of theatre. I have a few distinct things to break the illusion. Rather than an x-ray, it’s using light to bring back the body. It leans much more towards abstraction than my previous pieces have been.”

Hyper features a fusion of body paint, UV light and 3D glasses in order to create trippy visual sequences. It premiered last September with a trio of performances. Now, Olafson’s returning to the University of Winnipeg to present it, before touring it to Toronto, Edmonton and Ottawa.

Hyper will be performed at the Asper Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 28.

Published in Volume 69, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 24, 2014)

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