Opening this Wednesday at the Design Exchange in Toronto is a celebration of National Ballet of Canada ‘s 60th anniversary: The Tutu Project. International artists and local community groups were invited to create a collection of 60 original, wearable tutus. The tutu is an iconic symbol of elegance and strength, and symbolizes the delicate balance between power and poise in ballet. Narwhal Art Projects is proud to be represented in The Tutu Project by Julie Moon , Tania Sanhueza Noel Middleton and Metatecture. Each tutu is a work of art that looks as if it could have its own unique ballet.

Alongside the Tutu Project, the Design Exchange is also hosting a historical exhibit, 60 Years of Designing the Ballet, which will showcase the multiple levels of creating a ballet performance in stage and costume design. The partnered exhibitions are incredible celebrations of Canada’s rich history in ballet. Both exhibits open July 11 at the Design Exchange. Admission into The Tutu Project is pay what you can.

July 11th – September 2nd

Design Exchange
234 Bay Street, Toronto

Below, learn more about the ideas behind each of our artists’ tutus, and be sure to check them out in person this summer.

National Ballet of Canada Tutu Project - Julie MoonWinter Bloom by Julie Moon

Ceramicist Julie Moon looks at the Tutu with inspiration from the pristine, wintery landscape of Aspen, Colorado – where she spent the winter months of 2012 working in an artists residency. Winter Bloom combines floral and geometric embellishments made from delicate white porcelain, suggesting the crisp and fleeting movements of the dancer in motion.

Tania Sanhueza National Ballet of Canada Tutu ProjectTutu Substrate by Tania Sanhueza

The social fabric of urban life and its relationship to the environment is explored by Tania Sanhueza’s soft, textile based sculptures. Tutu Substrate encompasses the magic of dance through the regenerative life cycle of a mushroom. Providing a multitude of offerings, mushrooms grow up from forgotten matter into beautiful and odd formations. The whimsical spreading of mushroom spores onto the tutu commingles with the magic and beauty emitted by the dancer.

National Ballet of Canada Tutu project - Noel Middleton The Lemkos Tutu by Noel Middleton

Noel Middleton creates from carefully accumulated natural materials, exploring aspects of reclusion and fantasy. The Lemkos Tutu is derived from characteristics founded in 14th century chapel construction by settlers in the Carpathian Mountains. Built entirely of timber and wood shingles, early Slavic churches embraced the interrelation between the surrounding environment and centers for worship, despite subsequent theological shifts from polytheism to Christianity. Constructed entirely from locally reclaimed and collected wood, the Lemkos Tutu alludes to the reclamation of repudiated traditions.

Aurora Tutu by Metatecture

Metatecture is a collaborative practice formed as a means to visualize and explore emerging technologies and expand the definitions of art and design. Metatecture looks at ballet as the perpetual intertwining of movement and time. In reaction, they have created a tutu that magnifies motion and time through light emitted from L.E.D.S, which is diffracted through the tutu. Orientation changes the lights in colour and intensity. When worn, the tutu transforms from costume to a reactive and evolving visual media. Metatecture was founded in 2010 between members Finlay Paterson, Steven Reaume, Edgar Wong Baxter Jr., Nicholas Aoki and Adam Bellavance.