Moon Festival Canada

The Canadian Moon Festival is a month long digital project exploring how Canadian creatives, the landscape and the moon relate to one another.
July 5th – August 3rd. The project’s highlights can be viewed here.

 

The festival is supported by the High Commission of Canada in the UK.
PROUDLY SPONSORED BY THE HIGH COMMISSION OF CANADA IN THE UK

The High Commission of Canada’s work supports Canadian artists in the UK, connecting British audiences with some of the best and brightest Canadian and Indigenous talent. These are artists whose work tackles some of the most important issues of our day, such as gender equality, climate change and representation in the arts.

CURATED AND DIRECTED BY LIVIA FILOTICO

Livia Filotico is a creative director and curator of stories living between Rome and London and working at the intersection between culture and communication. She holds a degree in social anthropology from Goldsmiths University and both anthropological theory and ethnographic research are still at the heart of her work. Livia creates and directs cultural moments such as Moon Festival, award winning training programmes such as The Night School (championed by the Mayor’s Office) and TellYours (supported by Arts Council England, Words of Colour and BBC Writers Room), and successful communications campaigns across digital and print. Her clients and collaborators include author Margaret Atwood, Arts Council England, the National Heritage Lottery Fund, The High Commission of Canada in the UK and the Royal Museums in Greenwich. 

5 July – Full Moon

Margaret Atwood opens the Canadian Digital Moon Festival with a reading  of a fable she wrote called ‘The Full Moon Shopping Mall’. The final part of the story will be published on the last day of the festival on August 3rd.

6 July – Waning Gibbous Moon

Canadian cinema and the moon
Moon Man - Paul Morstad

Moon Man - Paul Morstad

Moon Man is an animated short inspired by the song “Moon Man Newfie” by Canadian music legend Stompin’ Tom Connors. It tells the story of Codfish Dan, who made Newfoundland history after a lucky fishing trip on the Milky Way.

watch here

Star Teller - Hubert Reeves

Star Teller - Hubert Reeves

Hubert Reeves is an astrophysicist known to the public as a wonderful populariser of scientific ideas, possessed of an exceptional talent at combining science and humanism. A committed ecologist, Reeves warned about the deterioration of our planet.

watch here

Universe - Kroitor & Low

Universe - Kroitor & Low

A triumph of film art, creating on the screen a vast, awe-inspiring picture of the universe as it would appear to a voyager through space, this film was among the sources used by Stanley Kubrick in his 2001: A Space Odyssey.

watch here

7 July – Waning Gibbous Moon

Paul Zizka is an award-winning mountain landscape and adventure photographer based in Banff, Canada. In this photo essay, he honours the night sky, the moon and their mysteries.
Halfway across the Drake Passage
Halfway across the Drake Passage
Panther Falls - Banff National Park
Panther Falls - Banff National Park
Bow Lake - Banff National Park
Bow Lake - Banff National Park
Hebertville Church - Quebec
Hebertville Church - Quebec
Hebertville Church - Quebec
Hebertville Church - Quebec
Snow-covered Antarctic peaks
Snow-covered Antarctic peaks

8 July – Waning Gibbous Moon

Douglas Joseph Cardinal is an Indigenous Canadian architect based in Ottawa, Ontario. His flowing architecture marked with smooth curvilinear forms is influenced by his Aboriginal heritage as well as European Expressionist architecture. Cardinal is best known for his designs of the Canadian Museum of History and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. and for his commitment to rethinking humanity’s relationship with the cosmos by honouring women. This is the first of e musings Cardinal shared concerning the Moon and architecture. The second and the third part of the interview will be published on July 24th and July 29th.

“When I design spiritual centres for indigenous people, I always try to bring the moon into my designs because we are a maternal culture and the moon is the foundation of our beliefs and our connection to the land. A case in point is the Museum of Washington. When I was working on the museum, I felt very strongly about bringing not only the sun but also the moon into the design, as this would reinforce the teachings of the grandmothers. So I chartered all the phases of the moon according to where they could enter the building with the goal of using the circular space on the 4th floor of the museum for moon ceremonies. But the commissioners were very intimidated by that, so much so that they fired me, fired the elders working on the project, and got another architect to come in and redesign the building. Then David Rockefeller intervened and said the new architect had to use my designs, which he did. But he left all the most important spiritual aspects out, including the mapping of the moon phases. He followed my designs but took the soul out of the building. The sun brings life, sure, but we are also profoundly influenced by the moon. I can confidently say that I am bound and determined to weave its phases and its association with women into my designs. 

9 July – Waning Gibbous Moon

Die Mainacht – Johannes Brahms.  Performed by Janet Fischer and Mikhail Shilyaev.
When the silvery moon gleams through the bushes,
And sheds its slumbering light on the grass,
And the nightingale is fluting,
I wander sadly from bush to bush.
Covered by leaves, a pair of doves
Coo to me their ecstasy; but I turn away,
Seek darker shadows,
And the lonely tear flows down.
When, O smiling vision, that shines through my soul
Like the red of dawn, shall I find you here on earth?
And the lonely tear
Quivers more ardently down my cheek.
(English Translation © Richard Stokes)

10 July – Waning Gibbous Moon

Shary Boyle is a Canadian artist working across diverse media, including sculpture, painting, installation and drawing. She is known for her bold, fantastical explorations of the figure. Highly crafted and deeply imaginative, her practice is activated through collaboration and mentorship. Boyle’s work considers the social history of ceramic figurines, animist mythologies and folk art forms to create a symbolic, feminist and politically charged language uniquely her own.

Of the two stunning works below, Boyle says: “Hans Cristian Anderson’s mermaid retreats to a cave deep beneath the sea, completing the cycle of life before she ages into death. Aquatic chimeras join fins around an Arctic seal-hole: supplicants to the Supemoon. Silence, both alienating and profound, weave through these scenes of mysterious lunar ritual”

Extreme Super Moon
Extreme Super Moon
2011. Ink and gouache on paper. 69 x 51 cm.
The Cave Painter
The Cave Painter
2013. Plaster, wood, foam, synthetic hair, sculpting epoxy, metal, paint, glitter, glass, three overhead projectors, photo-collage projection acetates, timer sequencer. Canada Pavilion, Venice Biennale.

13 July – Waning Crescent Moon

Alanna Mitchell – The Moon and the Oceans
From coral orgies to Circadian rhythms, award winning science journalist and playwright Alanna Mitchell blends ancient and new wisdom, splices science and myth and invites us to consider a new way of living with contagious passion, beguiling sense of humour, and immense knowledge.

16 July – Waning Crescent Moon

Shary Boyle is a Canadian artist working across diverse media, including sculpture, painting, installation and drawing. She is known for her bold, fantastical explorations of the figure. Highly crafted and deeply imaginative, her practice is activated through collaboration and mentorship. Boyle’s work considers the social history of ceramic figurines, animist mythologies and folk art forms to create a symbolic, feminist and politically charged language uniquely her own.

“The image on the left is an overhead projection of a night-time Arctic scene, with paper cut-outs of British soldiers and Inuit men. I saw the original sketch (on the right) by 16th century artist John White in the British Museum in 2007, recording England’s first contact with Inuit people off the north eastern coast of what’s now Canada. Historically referred to as ‘The Skirmish at Bloody Point”, Queen Elizabeth I’s soldiers attacked a small group of terrified hunters on a glacial cliff, where two jumped to their deaths to avoid capture. A man, woman and infant were stolen and brought back to England: they all died shortly after arrival. The Inuit woman’s sealskin parka is still in the British Museum’s collection, the shape of her body visible inside it. It’s a haunting record of Britain’s colonial violence and Canada’s shameful origins. My projection installation was made in response, while on a 2007 residency in London. The moon in my image signifies the eternal, cyclical nature of oppression. I presented the work at Space Gallery, Hackney.

The Skirmish at Bloody Point - Shary Boyle - 2007 - Presented at Space Gallery, Hackney.
The Skirmish at Bloody Point - Shary Boyle - 2007 - Presented at Space Gallery, Hackney.
Overhead Projection, ink and gouache on paper cut-outs.
The Skirmish at Bloody Point - John White - 1585-1593 - British Museum
The Skirmish at Bloody Point - John White - 1585-1593 - British Museum
Englishmen with guns and a St George flag, firing on Inuit on a cliff. British Museum.

20 July – New Moon

Margaret Atwood – Opening Speech at the Inaugural Moon Festival. 20th July 2019.
Margaret Atwood waxes lyrical about the moon at the opening speech of the inaugural Moon Festival, held at the University of Greenwich on July 20th 2019.

22 July – Waxing Crescent Moon

Architect Douglas Joseph Cardinal responds to the Moon theme. Part 2 of 3.

“It is fundamental that maternal symbols are brought into the world, to change the patriarchal system of power and control that is driving the planet. Unless these changes are made, we are not going to have a life on this planet at all because we are on a completely destructive course. We must turn to maternal values of loving and caring, respect what gives us life, and really look hard for the roots of our humanity. We were all indigenous people who had a relationship to the land at one time in our history. I was brought up thinking in this way by my grandmother who was very connected and also by my mother who was a registered nurse and spent her entire life caring for others. All my life I felt that the world was upside down. It’s an awful illusion to be a man in this crazy world of competition, power and control and I am glad I was brought up in a culture that allowed me to reinforce my real worldview. A lot of education needs to be done to change course and that’s what my architecture aims to do.”

24 July – Waxing Crescent Moon

 – The Box of Delights –

 

As Miranda Belarde-Lewis (PhD) points out whilst reflecting on The Museum of Glass exhibition, ‘Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight,’ that she curated, there are countless Raven stories in the Tlingit community, and there are many versions of how Raven came to bring the light to the world. The one below (taken verbatim from Belarde-Lewis here) is but one. It describes the time when the world was in darkness.

Nass Shaak Aankáawu (Nobleman at the Head of the Nass River) was hoarding many treasures, including the light. When Yéil (Raven) learned that the man had a daughter who drank from a stream every morning, Yéil turned himself into a hemlock or spruce needle and floated into her cup. She drank him; became pregnant; and Yéil, born in human form, became the love of their lives. Nass Shaak Aankáawu provided every luxury and toy to his precocious grandson. When the child cried for the boxes that held the stars, the moon and the sun, his grandfather could not refuse him. One by one, Yéil T’ukanéiyi (Raven Baby) incessantly cried for and released the stars, the moon and the daylight, much to the dismay of Nass Shaak Aankáawu but much to the benefit of the people and animals of the world. Realizing he was the victim of extreme deceit, Nass Shaak Aankáawu forever marked Yéil by holding him in the smoke of the fireplace, altering his color, turning him from the white spiritual being into the black color he is today.”

 

Artwork: Orbit by Alison Brenmer

 

If you are interested in bringing The Box of Delights to children, check out this unbelievable teaching resource on Tlingit culture and the Moon by Dr. Garza.

26 July – Waxing Crescent Moon

Martha Richler

 

On grieving, COVID-19 and the moon. Artist Martha Richler’ shares her profoundly touching inner world along with some gorgeous art.
Our mother died after midnight on the night of the 10th of January. It seems every full moon since, something dramatic has happened. Or perhaps my senses are heightened by the memory. It was a full moon in June when I spent the night at the Royal Free Hospital being given oxygen and other care for the Coronavirus, a wondrous night because they helped me so much, so that I was fit to return home to recover on my own.
This story underscores just how benevolent the moon has been, like a beacon. There is a sense of time standing still when someone you love dies. In our case, it did, with lockdown – with all my mother’s beloved concert halls and restaurants and opera houses going dark so soon after her world did.
 
The March Supermoon appeared in the plane window on the night-flight from Toronto to London. The moon was so bright, illuminating the clouds in pink and purple and indigo. It was an astonishing sight. I was not able to photograph it due to reflections in the window, so I sketched it instead and later painted it from memory.

27 July – First Quarter Moon

Alanna Mitchell – The Moon and the Oceans – Part 2
Where in Canada are the best spots to connect with the Moon? How are the moon and the tides linked? And to top it all, is the question of all questions: why on earth (and other planets) should we care about the Moon? Award winning science journalist and playwright Alanna Mitchell tells it all with disarming good humour and analytical clarity.

29 July – Waxing Gibbous Moon

Architect Douglas Joseph Cardinal responds to the Moon theme. Part 3 of 3.
Photo by Rick Soehn

I have always felt that architecture is a vehicle to change reality. Over the centuries it has been used to reinforce the patriarchal world view with all its temples and tall structures. You can see it in the government’s offices, the buildings of the state, the tall European cathedrals. All these buildings denote dominion over the natural world and over our own nature. When people enter them they sense the power of the form and are so overwhelmed by it that they feel small and somewhat less important. At the beginning of my career I had the opportunity to build a church, a temple if you will, and I wanted it to embody the female form – which was the logical choice considering it was called St. Mary’s Church. I was already very clear about what architecture’s role was by then: not a reinforcement of existing power structures, control and dominion over the world but a tool to engage with loving, caring and maternal symbolism for people to feel nurtured. A lunar, rather than a solar building, if you will. And so, with the help of a priest, I designed the building around a new liturgy, one that would work to get rid of the powerful hierarchy between the ritualist and the people: a church built in a circle around the altar. We need more of that.

I can’t wait to have a client that wants to make a building that is a homage to women and to the moon. 

30 July – Waxing Gibbous Moon

Lullaby – Patrick Cardy.  Performed by Janet Fischer and Mikhail Shilyaev.
The soft night falls,
moonlight calls,
the starlight sings of far tomorrow.
 
And through the mist,
night’s tender kiss,
the earth clings to ancient sorrow.
 
My babies lie in peace.
 
The candle glows,
night’s breath slows,
the shadows drift in waves and wander.
 
Grey embers die,
“Hush”, with a sigh,
they warm the silent dark no longer.
 
My babies lie in peace. So lullaby.
 
And now to bed,
my sleepyheads,
you’ll hear the gentle breezes speak.
 
So close your eyes,
let night disguise
the private dreams of children’s sleep. Lullaby.

1 August – Waxing Gibbous Moon

A message of hope and wisdom from Canadian Inuit sculptor Manasie Akpaliapik

3 August – Full Moon

Margaret Atwood closes the Canadian Digital Moon Festival with a reading  of the final part of a fable she wrote called ‘The Full Moon Shopping Mall’.