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Chroma installation brings visual arts to the masses at Southcentre Mall

“Shopping mall” and “art installation” aren’t necessarily words that have an association with each other unless you’re thinking of the art of retail. But Chroma, running at Southcentre Mall until June 16 might change all that. Chroma YYC is an art installation featuring eight local artists. The installation makes use of the Centre Court, a large open space in the mall that more often plays host to their Christmas Village. 

“What makes this space ideal is how big and open it is. And how much you can do with that kind of space,” says Rashmi Aimiuwu, marketing director at Southcentre Mall. “It’s not often that you have 3,600 square feet of open space in a mall. 

That kind of real estate is exactly what Promoting Artists Redefining Kulture (PARK) was looking for whey they partnered with Southcentre to create a curated space, open to the public. Throughout the six weeks of the installation there will be some events, like pop-up markets and some additions to the installation. 

Even before it formally opened, the installation affected a nearby rest space and the public was invited to participate in creating its own art along the back wall. Although the plan is to ensure that everyone is welcome and access to the installation is free, all children under 12 must be supervised.  Other than a few specific events, like the Tea Party at Chroma on June 2, PARK and the mall emphasized the need for an inviting place where all are welcome at no cost.

“That was really important to us,” says Aimiuwu, “to have all this art so that everyone can enjoy it for free.”

Chroma has already created a buzz and I was not the only one taking a stroll through the installation. It’s fast becoming a location for taking an interesting selfie or Instagram-worthy pics.  Each wall and corner has something new to offer. The installation definitely lives up to the name Chroma and each artist’s wall is a play on space, texture, pattern and, of course, colour. 

Rei Duncan and Caine Chow collaborated to bring together a shared vision. Theirs is a play on colour and the evocation of place. Though it’s the only installation intended as a collaboration, once the artists got together to discuss the space and their  projects, a natural collaboration took off. Caine creates Kokedama, or Japanese moss ball plants. Caine stresses that these are NOT Bonsai.

“People see trees and the moss balls and they think they’re the same, but don’t ever say that to the people who make either.” Rei’s work evokes coral and partnered with the kokedama it’s a world that conjures living art.

What makes the Chroma installation so interesting is the fact that not only are there different parts and visions, but different angles. The installation isn’t just visible from the ground level. A move to the upper level shows a whole new perspective. Chroma is worth checking out and a great break from the retail realities of the mall. 

(Photo: Wall by Caine Chow for Chroma.)

Chroma runs until June 16 at Southcentre Mall.

Gaëlle Eizlini started her adult life with a degree in Fine Arts and got sidetracked with a career in communications and engagement. She’s an aspiring Renaissance Woman and rocks her (naturally) curly hair.