Nuit Blanche a new look for contemporary art

Calgarians mill around the “CLOUD” art piece at Nuit Blanche at Olympic Plaza.

Among other performances, Calgarians met a “mother rabbit” at the city’s first Nuit Blanche, the international late-night contemporary arts event, held Sept. 15 in Olympic Plaza.

In her piece “My Mother Calls Me A Rabbit,” artist Emily Promise Allison, a student at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD),  dressed head to toe in white, sat in a white chair, and was surrounded by 130 kilograms of white sugar. At the start of the evening, she stroked a black rabbit inside her prosthetic pregnant belly.

Allison said her art was a reflection on motherhood and fertility, but open to viewer interpretation. The main part of her performance was dancing with audience members, and Calgarians didn’t shy away from the opportunity.

“As part of the performance I returned to sit down in the chair before accepting another invitation,” Allison said.

“Most of the time I wasn’t half way down before another individual wanted to share a dance – and often a very personal conversation which progressed naturally during our time together.”

Allison felt Nuit Blanche raised awareness about what contemporary art can look like.

“This is where visiting artist run centres, seeing innovative theater projects, and going to mini events to encourage critical thinking and conversation will serve as opportunities to experience art beyond a one night festival,” she said.

Calgarians also went inside a sculpture of a Belfast bar, “staffed” by Belfast bartenders, rode a  carrousel made of shopping carts and recycled crowd barriers, sent messages to town criers, and turned 5,000 lights on and off in the CLOUD art piece.

For more information about Calgary’s Nuit Blanche, visit

About Casey Knoll 8 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Casey Knoll worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.