Tonight I was invited to Metrotown’s latest art exhibit. So far they have done a wonderful job at bringing unique attractions and artistic pieces to the mall. They draw a crowd and give shoppers more to look at than just merchandise on shelves. And this one for March not only helps to beckon in spring, but it also gives you a great backdrop for your latest selfie.
Its launch tonight was celebrated by a lovely reception with traditional Japanese demonstrations, and opening remarks by the artist who created it, (from Vancouver creative arts studio Hfour), and the marketing director for Metrotown.
Invited guests ate by tables surrounding the exciting new art installation. Looking on to the artificial turf and the scene above it, where over 250,000 fabric cherry blossoms bloomed along side glossy mirrored spheres. From any side and at any angle it looked amazing. It doesn’t have a bad side. The only deterrent are the neon lights from the store’s surrounding the atrium. But with the right camera and the right app you can blur all of that out.
This was a treat to behold at night with only darkness coming through the skylight above, so I can only imagine how stunning it will be in the brightness of a sunny morning. And then how the light will reflect off the mirrors at various points throughout the day, thus changing the displays.
Here are a few photos I took to give you some inspiration, before you head there to capture it yourself. They were taken from the second floor looking down, with me laying flat with my head and camera before me, and looking at it from the sky (light) to the ground.
For refreshments tonight they were offering a passion fruit lemonade with a crushed sugar rim or a raspberry punch with a lemon slice.
For nibbles a wonderful selection of savoury and sweet canapés were being served on trays. Like these Chilli lime coconut prawns on a black puffed rice cracker.
Wild mushroom dumplings.
Pistachio crushed chicken balls on a stick, served with a passion fruit creme dip.
For dessert raspberry mini macarons.
Strawberry short cake.
Passion fruit brownies.
And the popular Uncle Tetsu’s fluffy and creamy Japanese style cheesecake that melts in your mouth.
David’s Tea and Purdy’s Chocolates were also on site offering up samples. The latter had a collection of their creamy chocolates in white and dark blended with mango fruit, matcha powder, and mandarin orange.
For entertainment there musicians and dancers from the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.
The musicians were dressed in traditional kimonos. They regaled guests with melodies plunked from the koto and blown from shakuhachi. The “shakuhachi” is a Japanese bamboo wood flute. And the “koto” is a Japanese stringed instrument that you pluck. It is like a cross between a harp and and guitar, but played before you like a piano.
Then five women dressed in black and white checkered kimonos with purple flower embellishments performed three traditional dances utilizing cherry blossom branches and colourful fans as props.
They also taught the crowd the correct way to fold and dress in a kimono. And I was luckily enough to be one of the volunteers. As the model I wasn’t able to watch most of my dressing happen, but from feeling it all I can describe the following to you.
Each kimono can be folded to fit your body proportion, size, or height. I witnessed a yellow robe for a grown woman, get pleated and folded down until it snuggly sat on the shoulders of a young girl. Girls before they are married wear robes with sleeves that are longer and often cover their hands. Women who are married wear kimonos that are much shorter on the arms, such as the one I dawned tonight.
A couple of women helped to dress me, with another standing on the side, ready to pass on the correct ribbon or sash to them. Arms through the spacious arm holes, one flap of the robe over the other. Any fabric in addition is pleated at the waist, this has the kimono looking like it is made of two separate pieces. Two fabric sashes are tied to keep the robe around the waist. They are pulled tight, but you are still able to breathe. The result was a figure and the feeling that I slimmed down a dress size or two.
Then the ornate obi (belt) is wrapped around, and tied off at the back with a lop sided bow. And lastly a piece of flexible board is then placed over your stomach, under the obi. This keeps things firm and doubles as a great place to store your fan or cellphone.
And the look would not be complete without the right hair accessories. In my case a red ribbon tied around my hair bun, and a hair pick with pink and white flowers, dangling petals, and tiny jingle bells, to it side.
The night and festivities ended with copious amounts of photos. Photos with our performers, photos of the art installation, and photos of all those in attendance with both.
To take part it all the beauty and fun visit Blossom at Metropolis at Metrotown between March 5 to 31, 2019. It is located at the Grand Court. There, you can also enter for a chance to win a $1000 shopping spree at one of the kiosks! And if you take any photos or video and share them online using the tags #METBlossom and @metropolisatmet, you are entered for a chance to win a weekly Blossom prize package, or the grand prize: a $500 Metropolis at Metrotown gift card.
There will also be free weekday evening performances and workshops that you can register for. Every Tuesday and Thursday for the month of March volunteers from the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre will be hosting craft workshops like making your own sakura (cherry blossom) artwork, washi paper collages, traditional Japanese paper cutting, cloth and hair clip art, cloth wrapping, and flower arranging. Or you can take lessons on how to play Japanese chess, and learn how to preform a traditional Japanese dance with them.
On Wednesday nights for the month of March, you can learn to make own origami sakura blossom or how to do brush calligraphy from MUJI.
For all the class details, dates, and how to sign up visit the Metropolis website with the link below. https://metropolisatmetrotown.com/promotions-events/events/2019/03/05/blossom-metropolis/
Blossom is open during mall hours daily March 5-31, 2019 and is a free experience for everyone to enjoy.
Metropolis at Metrotown, Grand Court
4700 Kingsway, Burnaby
(Lower Level, near T&T Supermarket and Toys R Us)