Osheaga Music and Arts Festival is Canada’s most sophisticated music festival. It takes place around the sweltering last weekend of July each year, and delivers a cool lineup of local, Canadian and international talent. Fodor’s Travel voted Osheaga as one of the top 15 music festivals in the world, and it attracts over 140,000 people annually. Each year, Parc Jean-Drapeau, an expansive park on St. Helene island in Montreal, is transformed into a music and arts haven, for festival goers of all ages. The location of the festival is unique in that it’s provides an outdoor, nature heavy space, but is just one metro stop away from the core of Montreal and all it’s amenities.
Now in it’s 11th year, Osheaga has over 100 acts performing over three long, hot days. This year, local talent included bands like The Damn Truth, The Barr Brothers, Kaytranada and Grimes. The marquee headliners this year were history making, with Radiohead taking the stage on the last night, a conquest that Evenko Nick Farkas had been eyeing since the festival began. Other headliners included singer Lana Del Rey and ’90s rockers, The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The River and Mountain Stages, where the headliner’s played nightly, was always filled to the brim with people.
A gaggle of people sit underneath one of the many colourful art installations.
A hallmark of Parc-Jean Drapeau, and a lookout from the water onto the city centre.
Art melted seamlessly into nature at Osheaga.
Lots of interesting lines and textures to be seen at Parc Jean Drapeau.
The park is very expansive and the concerts are spread out across the park.
Some installations shone brighter at night.
Osheaga feels like a grown up Disneyland, like there’s magic in the air.
In 2002, Claire Morgan constructed Untitled an installation in which 2000 fresh strawberries were threaded with nylon and hung from the ceiling in a complex, concave shape. The piece was no doubt a laborious effort; the months of detailed planning, sourcing and implementation were all apparent in the final product – a sculpture that decayed within 10 days.
Most of Claire’s work is temporary. She uses organic materials, bringing together flowers, animals, insects and other matter and melding them into three dimensional shapes. Her works are commentaries on the relationship we nurture with nature, and some of her pieces hold themes of contained chaos. It can be jarring when you first realize Making A Killing is adorned with real butterflies but Claire’s use of taxidermy is the perfect introduction for us, who hadn’t previously thought it as art. She gives a new life to these animals as they’re reframed into shapes which seem to fluidly bend as you move around the piece.
The interim nature of installation work breeds a unique type of artist. It’s always interesting to learn how an installation artist accepts that their piece, which required such physical and mental effort will eventually cease to exist. For Claire, the fragility of her pieces is worth the price of seeing her ideas executed. She isn’t troubled with the notion of her legacy, instead she concerns herself with the implementation of her ideas. We still had so many questions about how she detached from her pieces but almost forgot to ask, as we spent the next few hours engrossed, prying through her buckets of bee’s and various stuffed animals (and her very alive cat). We did manage to ask Claire about how she’s adapted to letting go of her pieces, where she sources her animals and which animal is her favorite to work with.
Figurative sculpture is one of the purest forms of art. Through bronze casted profiles, viewers glean so much about the human form. Each curve, line and expression is meticulously laboured over by sculptors. It’s indeed a laborious process, a physical release for the artist, as much as an emotional one. Sculpture is very closely associated with the public notion of art as it’s a form that has been around since the beginning of human enlightenment. Art is ever-evolving and sculpture has respectfully transcended the foundations built by Michelangelo and Rodin.
Contemporary sculpture is fluid; it’s expressive, acknowledging and embracing imperfection. One of the most well recognized contemporary sculptures of our time is Expansion by California born, London based artist Paige Bradley.
This image has resonated with many people as a symbol of feminine strength. Juxtaposed against the faint outline of the Brooklyn Bridge, it serves as a bit of peace, inside the concrete jungle.
Paige is a well rounded artist – she is a sculptor, illustrator and writer. She has given life to a number of striking pieces; her bronze Surrender Containment was recently auctioned at Christies for over estimate. Each buyer leaves with a piece of Paige, as her spirit is so intertwined in her work.
For Paige, these sculptures are a loose figment of her current reality. She creates only from what she knows.
We visited Paige in her East London studio, and she shared with us her thoughts on making it as an artist, her piece Vertigo and the themes of mortality in her work.
“If I plan to fall back then I’m going to fall back, if I don’t plan to fall back and it’s not an option then I don’t need a fall back plan.”
– Paige Bradley