June 18th, 2021

Eye on the Esplanade: So many stories, so little time

By AARON NELSON on June 11, 2021.


Do you know anyone who does needlework? Perhaps a grandmother or great aunt? Maybe you remember their hands were always busy while watching TV or at family gatherings. Have you looked at what they did? Have you appreciated the complexity of the images, the skill involved, and steady hand it requires? Now imagine someone dedicating nine years of their life (over 16,000 hours) to one masterpiece of embroidery? That is what Calgary artist, Sandra Sawatzky has done with The Black Gold Tapestry.

The Black Gold Tapestry, is one of the 21st century’s most significant Canadian works of art. This 67-metre, hand-embroidered masterpiece visually narrates the history of oil, tracing its impact on human civilizations around the world and throughout the centuries. The Black Gold Tapestry is comprised of millions of meticulously stitched and knotted threads that form a depiction of the world’s relationship with oil.

The tapestry is on exhibit at the Esplanade all summer.

You may have noticed the trails in Medicine Hat are busier than usual this year. To celebrate our community’s love of the bicycle, our new exhibition, Spokes, will be displayed outdoors. Rather than folks getting off their bikes and come to the gallery to see it, we will be displaying this exhibition along the bike paths! For the entire summer, you will be able to see Spokes at various locations, adding to your enjoyment of our amazing trail system.

After all those kilometers on the trails, you may get a bit hungry or thirsty. Make your way downtown to enjoy one of the many patios. While you’re there, pull out your smartphone and spend some time exploring the interactive digital experience of Downtown Stories. Simply scan the QR code at a featured site and enter a world loaded with fun interactives that celebrate the heritage and living memory of our community.

While exploring downtown you will also come across Cosmic Curiosities, by Evelyn Kleis, displayed in the outdoor spaces at the Esplanade, or discover the artwork of the next generation of storytellers at TREX space!

Our stories are who we are, and who we are determines who we will be. So, whether it is on your phone, during an afternoon walk, or in the gallery, there are dozens of stories to experience in Medicine Hat this summer.

See you out on the trails!

Aaron Nelson is Manager of Experiences and Events at the Esplanade

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