liberation’s radiance

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.

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.

Black Theatre Workshop is Canada’s longest running Black theatre company and is committed to reflecting Black culture and community by developing and providing visibility for Black Canadian artists. Black Theatre Workshop is an award-winning English-speaking theatre company based in Montreal, Quebec.