Vancouver landmarks will light up this week for huge winter arts festival (PHOTOS)

Feb 13 2023, 9:51 pm

The third annual VMF Winter Arts kicks off this weekend by lighting up a number of Vancouver’s iconic landmarks in stunning Coast Salish weaving patterns.

Blanketing The City: Lighting The Way is an evolution of the public art mural series and reconciliation process designed by renowned xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) weaver and graphic designer, Debra Sparrow, in collaboration with Vancouver Mural Festival, producers of VMF Winter Arts.

Large-scale lighting displays featuring transformed Coast Salish weaving patterns, colours and stories will be displayed at Canada Place, BC Place, Telus Garden and CF Pacific Centre each night from February 16 to 26.

Blanketing The City Lighting: The Way

Blanketing The City Lighting: The Way creator Debra Sparrow (BC Place/Submitted)

“If you look around the city, you see the tall glass buildings and the lights, but really, what is your history? What is the foundation and the roots of this place? It’s blankets,” said Sparrow in a statement. “We blanket the city with murals, and through the VMF Winter Arts, we now light up Vancouver and light the way as we move away from the darkness of the pandemic.

“This year’s artwork is far brighter, and it has new patterns that I’m excited about. Patterns speak to all cultures. As xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) textile weavers, we reflect the geometrics that gives the whole city a sense of connection.”

Blanketing The City

Blanketing The City (Sabrina Miso Creative/Submitted)

The partnership began in 2018 with the first mural under the Granville Street Bridge, and continues today with the most recent mural collaboration between Debra Sparrow (Musqueam), Chief Janice George & Buddy Joseph (Squamish), and Angela George (Tsleil-Waututh) at the Shipyards in the North Shore last August.

Blanketing The City: Lighting The Way can be seen from sunset until 11 pm at all four locations (VMF advises that some exceptions apply at BC Place due to other commitments or last-minute initiatives).

Blanketing The City

Blanketing The City (Artist Render)

“We hope that humanity can learn from looking at the beauty of this artwork and that it offers a way of connecting us all to each other,” added Sparrow. Here we are, as Indigenous people living on the outskirts of what you know as a city, where all of our villages were and no longer are.

“This artwork is also to honour our ancestors, for our Elders who were so wrongly done, while opening up a new way for all of us.”

Blanketing The City

Blanketing The City (Artist Render/Submitted)

Sparrow is also a panellist for the VMF Winter Arts x Herschel Supply’s Land & Light – Curators in Dialogue session on February 22 at 6:30 pm. The event is just one of a massive list of events — many free — that can be discovered during the festival.

Fans can discover free art installations and live entertainment along the VMF Winter Arts route from the Vancouver Art Gallery to Bentall Centre and Canada Place over the festival’s 11 days, and all ages are welcome.

Blanketing The City Lighting The Way

Blanketing The City: Lighting The Way (BC Place/Submitted)

VMF Winter Arts 2023

When: February 16 to 26, 2023
Time: Various times
Where: Various locations
Cost: Free and ticketed events. Learn more online

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