Canada Pavilion’s ‘Traces’ installation highlights the urgency of climate change


DUBAI,The Canada Pavilion’s interactive installation, ‘Traces’, presents environmental concerns as an aesthetic and conceptual interpretation, inviting visitors to reflect on the role of humanity in topics ranging from climate change to endangered species.

Built by KANVA, a Montreal-based architectural firm, the installation comprises eight human-sized ‘boxes’, each with a different name, showcasing a particular theme: The Jewel, The Nearness, The Memorial, The Forgotten, The Seat, The Gathering, The Sanctuary and The Awareness.

The display shows a murmuration of exquisitely crafted birds, fossilized in mid-flight, within amber-colored blocks, lit from within. It also shows an empty birdcage, with the door open, signifying accelerated environmental tragedy.

The installation reveals a vulnerability while encouraging awareness and urgency, through which visitors can consider collective and individual action.

Olga Karpova, KANVA Architect and Creative Project Manager, said: “We need to rethink our relationship to nature, to habitats, to species. We need to realize that we cannot just focus on humans, humans, humans, and ignore other living species.”

In addition to highlighting the reality of environmental challenges, ‘Traces’ aims to invoke a sense of hope and empathy, leading to positive action. The installation, according to its creators, raises questions but leaves the overall interpretation open.

Rami Bebawi, ‘Traces’ Architect and Co-founder of KANVA, said: “If you can touch people, then maybe it’s the best way to start educating or at least promoting change. If we promote a sense of care, then the visitor will start asking themselves questions.”

Commissioned by Global Affairs Canada and produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), ‘Traces’ will

be open to visitors throughout Expo 2020 Dubai from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 31 2022. Audiences around the world will also have the opportunity to experience ‘Traces’ online at and during a five-year international tour following its appearance at Expo.


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