The festival is the first of its kind in Toronto.
BY: Toronto Light Festival
LOCATION: Distillery District
INSTALLATION: January 27 to March 12
Giant tiger lanterns that give off a fiery glow. Friendship bands that mimic the Olympics’ emblem for international solidarity in sports. A series of figures dashing above a rooftop.
These are a few of the roving light installations assembled for the Toronto Light Festival, the first of its kind in the city, which promises spectators a “cerebral adventure” and takes inspiration from Amsterdam’s own winter lights festival.
As lofty and ambitious as that billing might sound, the festival does cast light on everything from the decline of Asian tigers and the ties that bind Europe to the pursuit of freedom and the flight of refugees to distant shores.
Making use of the Distillery District’s picturesque streets, the festival transforms the space into a veritable gallery, with people jockeying for selfies and dispensing commentary about a work’s artistic value.
At a time when it’s far too tempting to retreat to the comfort of the indoors—and our own personal bubbles—the festival offers up a contemplative series of works, which deal with ideas that have shaped the world we’ve come to know.
Take “Bands of Friendship,” a collection of multicoloured rings arranged in straight line, which, viewed from different angles, creates a hypnotic tunnel effect. Indian architects Vikas Patil and Santosh Gujar construct an idealized symbol of Europe as bound by this endless and enduring friendship, and united by shared values.
Then there’s “Run Beyond,” by Italian artist Angelo Bonello, whose work springs to life like an animated flip book, with an illuminated figure leaping in the air to make the jump to other side.
What awaits him there? Bonello leaves it up to pedestrians to project their take on what freedom means to them, imploring them to ask, “What jump have you yet to take in life?”
The festival runs from January 27 to March 12