The illuminated pathway running through the Chinese, First Nations and Japanese gardens gives off a certain magic, and yet, nothing ever gets there by magic. The craftspeople involved in this event – frequent award winners, firmly grounded in fall tradition in Montréal – put their expertise at the service of the experience and their hearts into conveying their passion for the culture of each of these gardens.
An artistic touch that drives the success of the event!
When you ask My Quynh Duong, the artistic designer behind the Chinese Garden lanterns, to talk about Gardens of Light, her eyes light up. It’s she who designs the lanterns that everyone admires there, and her coming here sixteen years ago changed everything. Newly arrived at the Jardin botanique, the young designer, at the time responsible for her first edition of The Magic of Lanterns, suggested that we stop buying lanterns crafted in China. She wanted to design them herself. She had the training, and above all, she had a head full of ideas! The suggestion was favorably received, which led to a reassessment of the entire experience. She chose to concentrate the most beautiful pieces on the Dream Lake so as to magnify their effect, and she focused on designs that each year draw their inspiration from a different theme in order to convey all the riches of Chinese culture in an authentic way.
The unique expertise of the Jardin botanique craftspeople
The designer also has to find solutions for recurring problems. Exposed to autumn gusts, Lake pieces often end up in the water! That’s when a productive collaboration begins with the technical team to produce supports that are both solid and inconspicuous. Today that’s the source of their greatest pride, because they’ve succeeded in creating the impression that most of the pieces are self-standing. “As far as the technical team is concerned, if you don’t see their work, it’s mission accomplished!’ stresses the woman who proudly adds that no other lantern show in the world takes so much care in integrating lanterns into their setting. Far from a random distribution of lanterns, here the best spot is determined for showcasing the particular piece. Plants are meticulously selected, and a specific support is created for each piece. The unique expertise of each trade developed over the years is fully brought to bear. Once everything’s in place, “the rice is cooked” – and there are no more changes!
Relating life in lanterns
This year, the theme of water chosen at the Chinese Garden has a very special meaning for My Quynh. It embodies in lanterns familiar scenes from the years she spent in China. For instance, she evokes fishing equipment similar to what she used to catch fish with her kid sister. She’s also provided little crabs in memory of the ones she loved to watch crawling over the rocks behind her home at the end of the day. Precious childhood memories that she generously shares with all Gardens of Light visitors.
Interview with My Quynh Duong by Marie-Joëlle Filion
To discover the new edition of Gardens of Light, it’s now necessary to select a date and time for the visit and to purchase tickets online. All the details at http://espacepourlavie.ca/en/programming/gardens-light