White Night: art after sunset
Fifteen years ago, Paris held its first White Night, a cultural initiative that brings contemporary art to residents and visitors after dark, with museums, cultural centres and galleries extending their opening hours until almost dawn and offering free entry. In 2003, several cities in Europe and Latin America began imitating Paris’s original idea with their own versions. Here are highlights of European events in five Iberia destinations.
1 Riga, Latvia: art on the banks of the Baltic
The 2014 European Capital of Culture, Riga dedicates much of its programme to international artists and performers. Kamchàtka, a Spanish street theatre troupe, is one of the 50 cultural projects taking part in the Baltā nakts, which is spread across the old town, city centre and Spikeri and Pardaugava districts. To make it easy for people to attend the events, there will be extra public transport routes from the city centre in service until 2am.
2 Seville, Spain: remembering its Expo
The theme for Seville’s White Night is the Expo – 25 years after the global event took place here. Prominent sites taking part in the initiative, which is being organised by the Sevillasemueve volunteer association, include the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies, along with the recently restored San Luis de los Franceses church.
3 Paris, France: epicentre of the White Night
The city of light – a pioneer of the Nuits Blanches – is more awake than ever on every first Saturday in October. This year, art curator Charlotte Laubard takes charge of the night’s artistic direction (there have been 16 past editions), which is designed to highlight artistic groups. Emblematic places such as the Canal Saint-Martin and the Place de la République – along with other lesser-known sites scattered across 20 of the city’s districts – will host various sound and light installations until well into the night.
4 Malta: culture in the Mediterranean
Inspired by being chosen as a 2018 European Capital of Culture, Malta’s capital, La Valetta, is holding its own Notte Bianca. Palaces and museums will open their doors to offer a broad variety of visual art exhibitions. In addition, local restaurants and cafés will provide an endless list of foodie offerings that highlight the cuisine of this island country located between Italy and Tunisia.
5 Brussels, Belgium: a nod to democracy
Between 7pm and 3am, the capital of Europe also becomes a cultural capital. ‘Power Games’, the 15th edition of Brussels’ Nuit Blanche, invites participants to explore the many expressions of power, both public and private. In a year marked by Brexit negotiations and a new US president, the organisers aim to interpret the unpredictability of a popular vote and the democratic process.