Winnipeg Arts Council

Lights on the Exchange Artist Lanterns

Artists are lighting up the Exchange!

*In progress* Lanterns are an ancient way of lighting up the night and showing a path forward. On behalf of the Exchange District BIZ, the Winnipeg Arts Council commissioned a series of semi-permanent seasonal artist lanterns to launch as part of the Lights on the ExchangeFind the lanterns (on this Google Map) alongside ephemeral artworks curated by Manufacturing Entertainment and Artspace as you explore the neighbourhood. 

Works by Yisa Akinbolaji, Takashi Iwasaki, Claire Johnston, Natalie Mark, Paul Robles, and Destiny Seymour are installed now, with more to come by KC Adams, Bîstyek, Jonato Dalayoan, Anna Binta Diallo, and Jackie Traverse for year 2 of the festival!

Thanks to Production Manager Joe Kalturnyk for collaborating creatively with the artists and Wolfram Engineering, and to Alex Santos and his team at Hi-Rise Carpentry for their fabrication and installation expertise. 

This project would not be possible without the support of community members. Thank you to Sasa Radulovic, Johanna Hurme, Alex Boersma, Gary Gervais, John Giavedone, Judy Hansen, Jim Slater, Justin Friesen, Carla Steidl, Adrian Katchur, Bryce Alston and the Reiss Family for sharing their space with us!

Yisa Akinbolaji


The Exchange District was the site of Winnipeg’s General Strike. Peaceful Protest, the Dividend of True Democracy celebrates the power of the people and peaceful protest. People's voices must always be heard, and their human rights must be respected.

Installed at 492 Main Street (facing Bijou Park)

Born in Ondo, Yisa Akinbolaji is an interdisciplinary artist from Lagos, Nigeria, who settled in Winnipeg in 1997. He describes himself as an experimentalist and emphasizes the significance of curiosity and productivity for his evolution. Yisa developed Remoglue medium for his painting and is the founder of the Creative Foundation Inc.

Claire Johnston


Lii Faam Michif Mashkawishiwak pi Tipeemishowak (Métis women are strong and free/own themselves) shines a light on the story of Annie Bannatyne, a well-educated Métis woman and philanthropist from the 19th century. Annie publicly shamed and whipped an anti-Métis bigot, exclaiming “this is how the women of Red River treat those who insult them”. This lantern is a tribute to the fierce spirit of Métis women past, present, and future, and exemplifies the unique fire within our hearts.

Big maarsii to Michif Language Keeper Verna DeMontigny for her generous contribution of Michif Translation to this project.

Installed at 474 Main Street

Claire Johnston (she/they) is a Michif beadwork artist based in her Homeland of Winnipeg, MB. She is currently mentoring with Jennine Krauchi as part of the MAWA Foundation Mentorship Program. As an Autistic person, Claire’s art practice is informed by the strengthening of relationships — with herself, her kin and the natural world.

Takashi Iwasaki

Yagasuri Wheat reflects on the historical significance of the Exchange District, its modern-day function and iconic existence, and its future as a more culturally diverse and inclusive place. A traditional Japanese textile pattern of repeated arrow fletchers evokes wheat fields here. Between the spikes of wheat are nibs of a fountain pen that could be used by the artists and writers of the Exchange.

Installed at 280 William Avenue (facing Old Market Square)

Takashi Iwasaki was born in Japan and moved to Winnipeg at the age of 20 to study fine art and become a visual artist. Being immersed in the visual art scene and feeling rooted in the community, I have called Winnipeg my new hometown, where I have lived and worked for 20 years.

Natalie Mark


Magic Fish is designed to bring light and magic where extra stars are needed. The jackfish, walleye and catfish connect the urban landscape to nature and the nearby Red River, where all these fish can be found.

Installed at 137 Bannatyne

Natalie Mark is an illustrator and cartoonist. In addition to their illustrative practice, they have co-created an installation at Pride Toronto's street fair, facilitated workshops, and created video work for Reel Asian International Film Festival. Recently, they have been teaching at their local art gallery. Natalie loves going to their local library and making zines!

Paul Robles


The birds and the skyline seen from studio windows make me think of Murmuration. I consider this epic natural phenomenon of large flocks flying together, twisting, and turning, and changing direction to understand the diaspora of the Exchange. Murmurings invite you to connect with its past as a hub of labour and commerce, to think of migrant/immigrant (sewing) factories, and to create your own narratives.

Installed at 85 Princess

Filipino born Winnipeg artist Paul Robles is known for his intricate cut paper works. He combines delicate craft with animist familiars, folklore, ghosts, and grief to explore psychological and emotional states. Recently, Robles has begun to incorporate sculptural elements into his work.

Destiny Seymour


Wiikondiwag : to feast together. was inspired by patterns on an ancient pot. Southern Manitoba has a rich history of ceramics dating back over 5000 years. These early cooking tools were our first beautifully decorated home goods. Many are currently living in the Manitoba Museum with over 3 million shards catalogued. They are relatively unknown by the general population. It’s time we celebrate these beautiful designs.

Installed at 155 Bannatyne

Destiny Seymour is an Anishinaabe interior designer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her practice takes a critical look at the representation of Indigenous cultures within design and architecture. She works with patterns from local Indigenous pottery and bone tools that date from 400 to over 3000 years old. These patterns are picking up where her ancestors left off.

KC Adams


wiigwaas gikendamowin honours the Exchange District as an arts hub and vibrant place to visit, and it recognizes the original peoples of this territory. My designs represent technologies that Indigenous people embraced in the past and present; beading, birchbark biting, and modern information technologies. The imagery contains Indigenous knowledge that vibrates with a wealth of wisdom, balance, hope, and innovation.

*Location coming year 2*

KC Adams is of Anishinaabe, Niheyew, and British descent and lives in Winnipeg. Adams is a relational maker whose work connects to Indigenous axiology and epistemology––recognizing her role as an educator, activist, community member and mentor. In addition, Adams creates work that explores technology and its relationship to her Indigenous identity and knowledge systems.



"Light" in the artist’s two languages, English and Arabic ضوء Daw', are merged and suggest hope during the darkest times. Light is intended to bring brightness, joy, and warmth, and serve as a reminder of the light at the end of the tunnel.

*Location coming year 2*

Bîstyek is a Winnipeg-based, self-taught artist. He was born in Syria from a Kurdish family and arrived in Canada as a refugee in 2017. Bîstyek’s style is dramatic and angular, with flashes of memories captured in unsettling shapes and sometimes saturated colour. His pieces are heavily influenced by his personal life and experiences.

Jonato Dalayoan


Unique patterns were created for each side of the lantern to represent the diversity within our community and the integration of different cultures working together. PAG-ASA (HOPE) is intended to reflect the bustling creative energy of the Exchange today, while finding joy in the chaos.

*Location coming year 2*

Jonato Dalayoan is an award-winning graphic designer and visual artist whose work is distinguished by a unique blend of urban art and professional design sensibilities. Jonato prides himself in being versatile. He draws inspiration from his family, faith, heritage, nature, community, and artistic interests. With two decades of experience in leading agencies in the Prairies, he is currently the owner of 4two Design Inc.

Anna Binta Diallo


Beacons feature silhouetted figures from archival photographs highlighting multiple histories and the people who pass through this area over time. What draws people here, and why were some displaced? Skyscrapers, industrious warehouses, and financial institutions were erected, but the land was already inhabited by Indigenous people. Immigrants settled in the area. There was a historic strike. Today, it is Winnipeg’s artistic core.

*Location coming soon*

Anna Binta Diallo (b Dakar, Senegal) is a Canadian multi-disciplinary visual artist who investigates memory and nostalgia to create unexpected narratives surrounding identity. Her work has been widely exhibited in Canada and internationally. In 2021, she won the Barbara Sphor Memorial Prize and received the Black Designers of Canada award of Excellence. In 2022, she was longlisted for the Sobey Art Award.

Justine Proulx


The first panel of Indigenous Perspectives on the Exchange is dedicated to First Nations and the bison who sustained them, especially through the harshest of winters. The second panel represents the Red River Settlement and the dangerous and exhausting work of the Voyageurs. The third panel shows the Exchange District in more modern times, owing much of its growth to Métis and First Nations peoples.

*Location coming year 2*

Justine Proulx is a Métis Tattooist & Mural Artist in Winnipeg, Manitoba. From a young age, she felt called to create and serve in industries that fuelled her creative passion and love for working closely with people. She is always looking for ways to honour her heritage, specifically with her woodland art/tattoos, and murals.

Jacqueline Traverse


The Sun Rises and Sets with You depicts a mother’s unconditional love of her children, the land and waters.

*Location coming year 2*

Jackie Traverse is a multi-disciplinary Indigenous artist with a practice rooted in community. She draws her inspiration from her Ojibway culture and her community of Lake St. Martin First Nation, and her experiences as a native woman living in Winnipeg. She is widely known in art communities across Canada for her painting, drawing, documentary, and sculptural works that speak to the realities of being an Indigenous woman.

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