By Scott McLean, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Published Oct 25, 2021
Kritsana Naowakhun’s passion for 16th and 18th century works of art along with a newfound dedication to his personal health inspired his latest creation for the igNIGHT temporary public art exhibition.
The Fort McMurray resident’s piece Garden of Eden is one of five featured installations at igNIGHT, which will be on display until Oct. 10 at Lions Park.
This year the municipality chose the theme of the United Nations General Assembly’s International Year of Fruits and Vegetables to inspire the exhibition.
All exhibits are light infused and are best viewed after dusk when they are illuminated from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.
Naowakhun has been producing pieces for igNIGHT for the past four years. Garden of Eden takes inspiration from the Bible and twists it slightly by utilizing light combined with plastic fruits and vegetables to create the shapes of Adam and Eve. Naowakhun said that working on the piece made him reflect about his own journey with personal health.
“I used to be a person who was smoking and partying and didn’t care about my health at all,” said Naowakhun.
“Now I’m taking care of another life, my child’s life, and I realized if I don’t take care of myself I can’t take care of a little life. You are what you eat, I changed my habits and I run every day. I feel happy and strong and able to take care of other people.”
Artists for the exhibition cover themes varying from food security, food processes and the global impacts of the food chain.
Calgary husband and wife artists Kevin Chow and Jamie Mason, who partner under the name Rawry and Pohly, used a childlike lens to produce characters that showcase Chinese culture through traditional fruits and vegetables.
The interactive piece also uses QR codes to highlight stories for each individual character. Chow said that Calgary’s Fuse33 makerspace was incredibly helpful to the production.
“Under their mentorship I was able to create things that I had never produced before,” said Chow. “Making sculptures that were using acrylic sheets, having foam insulation on the inside to get the width and using LED lights where it involves a bit of programming was super fun to do in a space like that.”
The municipality has partnered with the Wood Buffalo Food Bank for the event and is taking non-perishable donations on site at the exhibits.
Virtual sessions with the artists are also available through the municipality’s website. A municipal spokesperson said the municipality gave each of the five artists a budget of $10,000 for their respective art installations.
Theresa Buller, coordinator with community and protective services for the municipality, said that igNIGHT is also about creating connections within the community.
“Arts and culture are fundamental to human expression, to building relationships,” said Buller. “It’s also a great economic driver. It brings people to places that maybe they don’t generally explore, or unites different forms of industry together, that maybe wouldn’t usually work with each other.”
NOTE from The Regional.com: The annual event igNight in the article ran from October 1 to 10, 2021.
This item is reprinted with permission from Fort McMurray Today. See article HERE.
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