We want to expand and stretch the notion of garden design to more contemporary concepts which include art, sculpture, installation and architecture.
—Eduardo Aquino, co-curator
We now have yet one more way to enjoy Winnipeg's outdoors in the summer: Cool Gardens.
It's a new exhibition that features six contemporary gardens in Winnipeg's downtown, extending from Broadway to Provencher with four installations at The Forks.
Think of it as the summer parallel to the winter Warming Huts, a seasonal celebration of nature and art coming together.
"The idea is to introduce this idea of contemporary garden design to the prairies, specifically to Winnipeg," says Eduardo Aquino, co-curator of the event.
Winnipeg has many beautiful gardens and there is a huge gardening tradition in the city. Aquino says in most urban areas gardens are quite formal and quite classic in terms of design.
"We want to expand and stretch the notion of garden design to more contemporary concepts which include art, sculpture, installation and architecture," he says.
"Most of the projects serve as amenities. They're not simply gardens to look at, but places for people to reflect, to stay around, to think about, to look at the landscape around and understand public space in a slightly different way. So we hope we are going to be engaging the visitors in a new idea of what a garden is."
Aquino's own installation, Beachscape, comes out of cultural exchange and the idea of borrowing experiences from other cultures. "The top pastime for Canadians is gardening, but myself, I'm from Brazil, so the top pastime for Brazilians is the beach," he says. "So why don't we have a garden which is a beach? Or a beach which is a garden?"
His exhibition features a long sandy beach along the shore of the Assiniboine River at the old harbour at The Forks, complete with umbrellas and wooden decks resembling beach towels on which to rest.
Local artist Ewa Tarsia's garden is called Cool Dot, and features amusing globes of green grass running along the Broadway Promenade.
100 Elms by Scatliff+Miller+Murray of Winnipeg pays homage to the pioneering individuals who planted shady elm trees in the city's neighbourhoods. The 100 elm trees are placed directly in front of the Fort Garry Hotel to celebrate its centennial birthday.
Tilt, by ATLRG, is a gathering of geometric forms which offer intimate meeting spaces.
Two other gardens, Carrousel, an interactive installation made of recycled metal fences and crowd barriers and Blue Stick, are visiting gardens from Quebec.
Aquino says people are smiling as they walk around the gardens. "It means they are engaging with the idea, they feel invited by the idea and naturally start to interact with the project."
Cool Gardens will be open in Winnipeg's downtown until Sept. 21 and is presented by StorefrontMB and The Forks.
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