Lumiere London Light Festival 2018 – When Entire London is an Art Gallery
I enjoy art, all thanks to London. It is this city and my last year of living here that I now have much more appreciation of art or rather appreciation of ‘the need to enjoy art’ than I ever had in my life.
As a school-going child, I drew for sure; I couldn’t afford to not draw, ‘art education’ was part of the curriculum and so had to do the basic minimum to pass out of school. Later while working as a journalist, I had plenty of exposure to news and events related to art. But again, art was just a piece of information for me and not really a knowledge that I could bask in. Staying in Chicago did get me thinking, but I was still skimming on the surface. I marvelled at the lions outside the Art Institute of Chicago but I never cared to find more about them.
My first guided tour to the National Gallery in London changed that. I learned more about art in those 60 minutes than I did in my 33 years of life. Maybe because the Gallery staff didn’t show off names of painters they had in their collection (which I had mostly experienced in such tours) but rather focussed on colours and perspectives in the paintings. And more so, it focussed on the pleasure one derives while looking at them.
I learned that enjoying art is probably more important than understanding it. And once I started looking at art for enjoyment, my interest deepened and eventually I started putting an honest effort into understanding it.
So that makes London for me a city presenting an amalgamation of art and enjoyment. And the recent Lumiere London light festival is a perfect example of that.
Lumiere London Light Festival 2018
From 18th of this month till 21st, the entire central London has been converted into an open-air art gallery. Sharp at 5.30 pm after sunset, big patches of central London are closed off to traffic, all the way till 10.30 pm, to showcase this unique night-time art exhibition.
Acclaimed national and international artists are participating in the Lumiere London light festival. They have installed their art work at the popular squares around the city and also at the nooks and crannies of it. All the art works have one thing in common – they all use light as a medium. There is no dearth of galleries in London but transforming the city into a giant night-time street gallery is taking it to another level. There are 58 art works installed across King’s Cross, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Westminster and Victoria, South Bank and the Waterloo and the West End. For a detailed map of the festival, visit the link – VisitLondon.
The trick to enjoying anything worthwhile in London is that you should be able to walk. More so for a festival like this. All major and adjoining streets around these light-art installations were closed off to traffic. You can either walk to enjoy them or walk and catch a tube and walk again to enjoy them. Any which way it is just public transport that you are dependent on.
Walking to all 58 installations of Lumiere London light festival in single cold winter night was not possible (at least for us). So we decided to cover a bit more than a dozen around the West End area. We made a clever Google map beforehand so that we cover the maximum installations by walking the minimum (though according to my pedometer that minimum also turned out to be near 6 km, but that is London for you!).
Here’s a link to the Google map we followed – Lumiere London light festival West End. It starts off from Oxford Street (closest tube station – Oxford Circus), takes you along 15 installations, and ends at Leicester Square (closest tube station – Piccadilly Circus).
Here are some of my favourite ones of the night –
Few installations were larger than life while other were humbler. Some told a story, some were based on a story and some were just making a point. Most combined light with sound making it an immersive experience. There were works that I found eerie (Harmonic Portal for one, I felt any moment it could actually open up like a portal to another world) and some were playful (the Supercube!).
It was inspiring to see what all artists think of when they are thinking of light. How for an artist, light just means words of wisdom lit up. And for another artist, light is a tribute to years of suffering of refugees.
The festival is till 21st of January. If you are in London, come have a look at the festival and enjoy art like never before. And if not for that then at least come for the rare chance to stroll through some of the busiest streets in London, traffic free. Believe me, it is London, you won’t be disappointed!
What are your views on art? Do you think of art as a serious matter or do you think it is for enjoying? Let me know in the comments below.
For more fun things to do in and around London, click here – YellowMellowLife London Diaries.