Bucket exhibit raises $10K for Mexican girls' orphanage

An exhibit displayed in Winnipeg that used an object of derision in Mexico City has raised thousands of dollars for a Mexican orphanage.

Display by Esplanade Riel contained hundreds of white buckets shaped like two breaking waves

One Bucket at a Time set up at the entrance to the Esplanade Riel. (James Florio Photography/5468796 Architecture)

An exhibit displayed in Winnipeg that used an object of derision in Mexico City has raised thousands of dollars for a Mexican orphanage.

One Bucket at a Time, a partnership between 5468796 Architecture and Mexican architecture firm Factor Eficiencia, was on display last summer near Esplanade Riel in Winnipeg.

The display, which asked for donations for the Ayuda y Solidaridad con las Niñas de la Calle orphanage, saw $10,000 raised. The orphanage houses, educates and empowers Mexican girls who have no family.

"The orphanage looks after girls who would otherwise live on the streets and would have either no family or would have no way of having a good life," said Pablo Batista of 5468796 Architecture.

"It's not something that I thought I could do through architecture or that I even considered could be a possibility. So to be able to have that connection personally and to give back to something that's a big problem, or a big issue that's very visible when you go to Mexico City, it's very nice."

People climb on the One Bucket at a Time exhibit in Winnipeg. (James Florio Photography/5468796 Architecture)

The display contained hundreds of white buckets shaped like two breaking waves.

"There's people who make a job of filling buckets with concrete and then take over public parking spots," said Batista, who is originally from Mexico. You have to pay them to remove the bucket and then they look after your car — but if you don't pay it could be an issue.

"We took that object and tried to make a public space. It was switching the perspective of the bucket to the public and saying, 'You can do something that's for you, as opposed to against you, with the buckets.'"

The buckets lost their meaning by being brought to Winnipeg, said Batista, so the group tried to add meaning back into the display by asking for donations.

Workers put together One Bucket at a Time in Winnipeg. (James Florio Photography/5468796 Architecture)

"Our thought was always that the buckets are coming empty, so why don't we send them back full, with goodwill and a Canadian sort of well-being for these girls that are in need and need to get off the streets," said Johanna Hurme, also of 5468796 Architecture.

A principal architect from Factor Eficiencia, Geraldo Salinas chose the charity for the good work they do with the girls, said Hurme.

The girls sent the architecture firms a video thanking them for the donation, which will help fund their education, food, housing and medical help.

"We always have plans to do something special and I think Winnipeg's one of those places where that can be possible," Hurme said. "Winnipeggers are so giving and I've just found that living here — that sort of heartwarming generosity of this community."