Photos by participants and Hannah Minzloff

Presented by MSVU Art Gallery, in partnership with Alliance Française HalifaxBalad’arts: Wandering with Art is a series of monthly French language walks in the Hydrostone area of K’jipuktuk (Halifax), in collaboration with Sophie Pilipczuk. Over the course of the hour-long walk, the group discussed themed aspects of the neighbourhood and respond to the environment using different artistic mediums in the public space. We are offered these walks as a way for French language speakers and learners to meander together and discuss the neighbourhood through a creative lens. Supported by the MSVU Art Gallery in the first iteration (Fall 2020), the Alliance Française Halifax continued the project in its second year (Fall 2021).

Walk one: Close Looking Rather than focus on world events during this walk, we examined the environment we pass every day. How has the North End (neighbourhood) looked in the past geologically, culturally, and environmentally? From ancient times to the present day, certain things remain constant and others are in flux. Using photography and close looking practices, fascinating truths and even more mysteries might be revealed.

Walk two: Layers This walk referenced the history of the Hydrostone neighbourhood, from Mi’kmaw habitations, through the growth of industrialization, and militarization in this town. Along the way, participants searched for textures indicative of the layers subject, and created frottage (rubbings) on paper. This process makes evident the difficulty of perceiving layers of history on a surface, encouraging us to look and feel more deeply along our way. 

Walk three: Findings Wandering through the neighbourhood, participants discussed those things we find valuable and those that are considered disposable. The project used the practice of assemblage, to create from suitable found materials and inspiration, with attention drawn to the history of discoveries found.

Walk four: Waves How has the neighbourhood audio-scape changed over the past two centuries? Participants discussed living through the peaks and troughs in the north end, and some of the wave patterns in nature and society (water, movement, quantum energy, sound). Participants attempted to digitally capture (through phone apps) sounds they love, dislike, ignore, create and collaborated on an audio mix of the neighbourhood. 

Walk five: Zombies On the day of all hallow’s eve, when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest, we follow the hidden water course of the Halifax’s Freshwater Brook, we find ghosts, ghost-water, fountains of soft power and a Frankenstein tree (Camperdown Elm) while trying to do some watercolor painting in the rain.

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