Nocturne's 14th iteration won't be easy and eventgoers will be confronted with art that focuses on a myriad of different societal issues.
But this year's Curator-In-Residence Liliona Quarmyne says people shouldn't shy away.
“The theme this year is 'Liminal' – It's an appropriate word that speaks to the time we're in. When we look at the experiences we've had during the last 20 months, this is about where we're going globally and locally,” she said.
“It's about looking back, seeing the way we live and the harm we've done, and dealing with the fact we have a sense of where we have to go, but not the tools and language to get there yet.”
She's focused on making things like transition show through in the art exhibited. There are 68 projects over four days, both live and in-person, with some online.
“Now that all the projects are up and artists are installing, I've begun mapping my time out. I'm wondering how I'm going to get everywhere. I got hit with a wave of excitement when I saw everything at one time,” she said.
“This work is exciting, innovative and risky. These artists are taking chances and questioning our responsibilities to the earth, to each other, our relationships, our history and our futures.”
Works by Johnny Mrym Spence, Anne Simmonds, Christopher Harding, Michelle Sylliboy, Miya Turnbull, Alex Turgeon, Max Dooher, Mo Dresch and more will be featured. Quarmyne is excited an event could even happen this year.
“I just have a feeling of disbelief and I keep knocking on wood. It feels amazing, but it's been complicated. We have navigated questions about vaccination, policies, and inclusion and exclusion. The whole Nocturne staff and board has looked at those pieces and complexities, and have policies to keep people as safe as possible,” she said.
“I love that the event is spread out over four days. If it was two nights, people being out after being isolated for so long would be overwhelmed. We have some all-day events, some at night, some on live projection, and it's just a beautiful hybrid that reflects where the world is at right now.”
Though the pandemic, Quarmyne says the issues facing artists have been a mixed bag.
“On the one hand, I've spoken to many creatives who said that their art was the only thing that felt exciting, alive and possible. It creates hope, possibility and makes one think about the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
“But the intense pressure COVID-19 has created also affects uncertainty for people and makes it hard to do work. It's not ideal for production. This all speaks to the liminal experience for artists. They love what they do, but the tank is dry, it's been rough, and now they're moving to create again.”
Nocturne worked to ensure the presence of BIPOC artists was felt this year.
“I worked with those anchor artists this year and it was BIPOC-led. They all occupied intersectional, marginalized spaces. Many were at the heart of the alive and complex issues our society faced this year. From the pandemic to housing to George Floyd and the spark of Black Lives Matter, and the Every Child Matters movement and residential school discovers, these people were on the front lines,” she said.
“In these difficult times, we made sure we created a place to talk about these things and have discourse as well.”
She decided to become the Curator-In-Residence this year because it seemed like a good progression.
“I looked at whose voices needed to be heard and uplifted, and I wanted to choose artists who would highlight problematic systems,” she said.
“When people attend, I hope they're challenged and are compassionate. These projects let people immerse themselves in art and learn how to approach social justice issues and change. That's at the heart of a liminal experience.”
More information on the 2021 Nocturne schedule and event can be found online.