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London chapter brings ‘Great Body of Water!’ to Nuit Blanche arts festival

The Council of Canadians London chapter highlighted water in a painting, poetry and dance piece at the Nuit Blanche arts festival on June 4.

The outreach for their performance art piece notes, “On behalf of the London Chapter Council of Canadians, visual artist Jeremy Jeresky, dance artist Dorit Osher, artist-activist Julie Picken-Cooper, and poet-activist Jennifer Chesnut, we welcome you to Great Body of Water! Guest poets include: Joan Clayton, Kevin Heslop, Shelly Harder, Gloria Mulcahy, and Dianne Morrow. Share your knowledge and passion for the Great Lakes. If inspired, please feel welcome to bring a creative offering in homage to this Great Body of Water: Superior, Huron, Ontario, Michigan and Erie.”

The Nuit Blanche website described it as, “A participatory performance art piece, explores the spirit of water. From the Thames River to the Great Lakes watershed, our water is worth celebrating. Inspired by the work to create a Great Lakes Commons, join the London Chapter of the Council of Canadians and various London artists for poetry, painting, sound and movement on water.”

Their piece shared information from Maude Barlow’s report Our Great Lakes Commons – A people’s plan to protect the Great Lakes forever and included, in their words, “poetry performances, a 10 by 15 foot public collaborative painting which surveyed the threats to the lakes, a projection from the report, dance art, and paintings from students.”

The chapter reports, “It was amazing to experience so much public engagement. We had never seen such an open and varied audience. From people being painted with blue body paint, to kids blowing bubbles and dancing with ribbons, to the public chanting and throwing paint at the canvas, it was amazing to have so much response and joy. So many people engaged openly with the issues because of the platform of Nuit Blanche. The entrance was off the main street so many others watched from the windows. We had over 200 people come into the space and take part.”

In their promotion for it, the chapter also acknowledged that the event would take place on the ancestral lands of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabek, Lenape, Huron-Wendat, and Attawandaron Peoples.

For more about Nuit Blanche in London, please see here.