Liberation's Radiance

Feb 01, 2021 - Feb 28, 2021

Liberation's Radiance - Light installation to commemorate Black History Month
A Black Theatre Workshop and Segal Centre Special Event
By Tim Rodrigues, BTW Lighting Designer in Residence

Every night from February 1 to 28, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Commemorate Black History Month with Liberation’s Radiance, a new light installation at the Segal Centre designed by Tim Rodrigues and presented in partnership with Black Theatre Workshop. As we wait to safely invite artists and patrons back inside our venue, this is an opportunity to celebrate the beauty of the Segal Centre's façade as a space to elevate BIPOC voices through visual art. The light installation which will be displayed in loops will be visible to passersby on the front of the Segal Centre (5170 chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine) every day starting at 5:30 p.m.

To respect curfew guidelines, the installation will run until 7:30 p.m. every night, with more information regarding run times to be announced as restrictions and government guidelines are updated.

Wednesdays, February 10, 17, and 24, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
Free Zoom Discussions, R.S.V.P. Required

Weekly “Reflections” from artists in Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program (AMP) on how Liberation’s Radiance speaks to them and their experiences.

You are welcome to join Segal Centre BIPOC Artist Advocate and Artistic Advisor Dayane Kamana Ntibarikure and the AMP artist of the week on Zoom to discuss their writing.

February 10 - Maryline Chery register – Read an excerpt
February 17 - Justin Johnson register – Read an excerpt
February 24 - Willow Cioppa register – Read an excerpt

Artist Statement by Tim Rodrigues, Lighting Designer in Residence at Black Theatre Workshop

Liberation’s Radiance is a lighting installation featuring a green spectral-like light, acting as a beacon for liberation in the middle of a deep blue night. Drawing upon a notion that liberators emanate light / contain light, Liberation’s Radiance is an offer from the Artist to mark the occasion of Black History Month, using the installation to illustrate that the paths ancestors travelled towards liberation are still illuminated and lead ever towards freedom. The green LED light pulses, floats, and cuts through the darkness as a guide amidst the on-going process of liberation.

The audience is invited to take in the movement of the light and reflect on the continued need to move towards equity, justice and respect, so that all can share in the freedoms promised in the framework of our societal structures and institutions.

The central lighting effect in the installation is inspired by a description of “conduction” in the novel The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In the novel, Coates describes occurrences of conduction as the conductor and those in their close proximity being transported hundreds of miles in minutes using water as a conduit. The enslaved in the South are transported to their freedom in the North and the journey taken is described as being wrapped in a spectral green mist. The conductor is described as being alight in a pale green light, eyes aflame “with the same green fire that had grown up out of the night”. (“23.” The Water Dancer: a Novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates, One World, 2020, pp. 270–271.) In the book of Exodus, after leading the enslaved Hebrews out of Egypt, Moses is described as having a radiant face after he converses with God on Mount Sinai. (Exodus 34:29-35, New International Version)

The idea of liberators emanating light / containing light became a bridge between the ancestral stories told in Coates’ novel, those in the Old Testament and the oral histories of the Underground Railroad. The desire is for shared stories of liberation to be a part of how all communities observe and partake in the celebration of Black History Month.

Excerpt from SEEDS by Willow Cioppa, Artist Mentorship Program – Black Theatre Workshop

I begin to feel a heat expanding on my back. First a warmth. Then a burn that spreads across my back body. The sea is turning to fire but I am not afraid. It does not hurt. The glittering blue of the sea boils over in impossible flames; freedom greets me with a new face. She looks like the ocean, she smells like the ocean, she tastes like the ocean, yet she burns, bubbling up around me. She is a wildfire with smoke that embeds itself so deep in the atmosphere you can smell it in the air for generations. ;

Read the full reflection...

Excerpt from BRIGHTEST DARKNESS by Justin Johnson, Artist Mentorship Program – Black Theatre Workshop

I start to notice
Light is brightest in the dark
Sparks of aura start to pour into my ever present heart
Ever will I wander, while I wonder why I’m in the dark
Never will I waste a blessing these are lessons from the stars 

Watch / listen to / read the full reflection...

Excerpt from PA BLIYE* by Maryline Chery, Artist Mentorship Program – Black Theatre Workshop

En fermant mes yeux, je le vois. 

Un faisceau luminescent, déchirant dans un trait jouissif, un dense nuage enténébré. Une transmission électrique, un message énigmatique que seuls les plus courageux peuvent porter. Habité des échos d’aspiration, d’appréhension, d’attente, mais surtout d’espoir. Dans cette instance, je comprends. Ce qui fut laissé derrière. Un départ pour une arrivée. Une terre enracinée contre une autre à ensemencer. S’endeuiller pour la liberté.


I see it when I close my eyes.

A beam of light rips through a dense cloud of darkness with one joyful stroke. An electric transmission, an enigmatic message that only the most courageous can carry. Inhabited by the echoes of aspiration, dread, expectation, but especially hope. In that very instance, I understand. What was left behind. Departing to arrive. Land rooted against another to be sown. Mourning for freedom.

Brief commentary on the poem
*This poem, which opens and closes with the author’s direct admission that she is the child of an immigrant, is full of love and hope, appreciation of her origins and heritage that will only chart her path for the future. Written in French and Creole, Maryline Chery dynamically evokes sensory elements of heat, light and water to convey strong emotions that are not only deeply personal but strikingly universal.

Read the full reflection...

*Please note that this reflection was kept in the original language used by the author. Upcoming reflections will be in English.