BUMP FESTIVAL, along with collaborators CMLC & CIRQUE DU SOLEIL proudly present “PANDORA’S SNAIL” by Milkbox

In 2023, BUMP Festival collaborated with Cirque du Soleil and Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) to create a special installation inspired by KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil in the heart of Calgary’s emerging Culture + Entertainment District, on the east- facing wall of the Vetro Condominiums building on 15th Avenue. 

KOOZA is one of the most successful Cirque du Soleil shows of all time; since 2007 it has mesmerized more than 8 million spectators in 22 countries around the world. It follows the heartwarming journey of ‘The Innocent’, an endearing yet naïve character on a daring, zany, whimsical, and life-affirming journey of self discovery. Like all of Cirque du Soleil’s productions, it sweeps people away with dazzling creativity and connects artists with audiences and community. It is also a homecoming: KOOZA is the first show to bring the Big Top back to Calgary since 2019. 

Cirque du Soleil desired to celebrate this return, and leave behind a bit of KOOZA magic in Calgary. The task became to find the perfect visual artist to bring these ideas to life and express KOOZA’s themes in a fresh artistic medium. 

Enter: Milkbox!

Making her Calgary debut. Kayla Buium (who creates art under the moniker ‘Milkbox’) is a muralist and illustrator based out of Montreal, Canada. In the summer of 2023, she was selected by BUMP Festival, CMLC & Cirque du Soleil to collaborate on a KOOZA-inspired mural and join the 2023 BUMP Festival. 

Kayla’s artistic work is full of imagination and meaning. She creates surreal narratives exploring themes of femmehood, identity, sexuality, mental health, identity, and self love, and often features animals and elements of nature to tell visual stories. In her youth, she was also a gymnast, which added to her appreciation for the athleticism of Cirque du Soleil’s artists. To inspire her final design, Kayla was invited into the KOOZA Big Top to experience the show from backstage and in the audience, interview the artistic team, and immerse herself in the creative language of the show. 

I am excited to bring Calgary this whimsical and surrealist mural inspired by my visit to cirque de Soleil’s show Kooza. As a former gymnast and current park rollerskater, I’ve always loved acrobatics and preference, so getting to peel back the curtain of a circus show and see the performers and costumes up close and personal was beyond inspiring. Even more inspiring to me was seeing the performers back stage playing with one another while elements of their onstage personas carried through.  Kooza tells a story that transcends what is possible, and with that I wanted to take the magic of the show and find my own story within it. I love art that is weird and puts images and ideas into a new context to create new meaning. With this piece, I am bringing hope and wonder into the streets of Calgary, and I can’t wait for you all to see it!said the artist before arriving in the city of Calgary.

Her mural, titled ‘Pandora’s Snail’, which took 14 days to paint was completed on September 9, 2023. When asked about the meaning behind her massive new piece, she states “Pandora’s Snail is a mural inspired by the Cirque du Soleil show KOOZA. The mural is about two curious but mischievous clowns about to open Pandora’s snail to release chaos onto the world. The snail is a slow moving creature making it easy to catch and open with the key. The mural uses costumes and motifs from KOOZA to tell a brand new story created by MILKBOX.”

This mural can be found on the East wall of 210 15 Ave SE

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil will play in Calgary from August 25 – October 8, 2023 in the iconic Big Top in Calgary’s Culture +Entertainment District, on Stampede Park. For more information, visit https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/kooza

About Milkbox
To read more about Milkbox, please visit her 2023 Artist Page.

About Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group is a world leader in live entertainment. In addition to producing world-renowned circus arts shows, the Company brings its creative approach to a large variety of entertainment forms, such as multimedia productions, immersive experiences, and special events. Going beyond its various creations, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group aims to positively impact people, communities and the planet with its most important tools: creativity and art. Since its creation in 1984, more than 378 million people have been inspired on 6 continents and 86 countries. The Canadian company now employs more than 4000 employees, including 1200 artists from 80 different nationalities. For more information visit cirquedusoleil.com. 

About CMLC & The Culture + Entertainment District 
Created and owned by the City of Calgary, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) exists to achieve the City’s objectives for urban densification and community renewal, infrastructure investment and placemaking. An entrepreneurial group of hands-on doers and placemakers, CMLC’s approach is rooted in community participation and designed to strengthen the connections between places, experiences and people. As the master developer behind Calgary’s East Village and new Culture + Entertainment District, CMLC is currently leading over $1 billion in city-building projects and is the project lead on pillar projects in Calgary including the Arts Commons Transformation, BMO Centre Expansion and the 17th Ave SE Extension and Victoria Park/Stampede LRT Station Rebuild. Dedicated supporters and collaborators of BUMP Festival, the KOOZA mural will be the sixth public art project that BUMP and CMLC have collaborated on. Prior projects include ‘Travelling Family’ & ‘Strength and Fragility’  in The Culture + Entertainment District and ‘Untitled by Borris’ & ‘Honoring Life Givers North to South’ in the East Village neighbourhood of Calgary.