Derry lights up as Lumiere festival gets under way

The installation at Ebrington in Derry, which features the work of local schoolchildren.

The installation at Ebrington in Derry, which features the work of local schoolchildren.

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The Christmas lights switch on may have been last week - but last night saw the city truly shine as 17 art installations were illuminated throughout the city on the first night for the four day Lumiere festival.

Artwork will be displayed all around the city - over the course of a 4.5mile walking route - taking in everywhere from the Fountain to the Bogside, St. Columb’s Park to Ebrington, the old Rosemount Factory to the Peace Bridge - from now until Sunday night.

'The Empty Plinth' will see Walker's Plinth rejunenated by light. The Plinth will create an untainted beam of white light, emerging skywards, to symbolise a "beacon of hope" for the city and demonstrate the scale of the missing pillar. In a groundbreaking move, the General Committee of the Apprentice Boys of Derry has leased the plinth to the Holywell Trust, a community development group with a peace and reconciliation ethos, with the aim of making the plinth a shared community space whilst respecting fully its heritage.

'The Empty Plinth' will see Walker's Plinth rejunenated by light. The Plinth will create an untainted beam of white light, emerging skywards, to symbolise a "beacon of hope" for the city and demonstrate the scale of the missing pillar. In a groundbreaking move, the General Committee of the Apprentice Boys of Derry has leased the plinth to the Holywell Trust, a community development group with a peace and reconciliation ethos, with the aim of making the plinth a shared community space whilst respecting fully its heritage.

Lumiere is being pitched as one of the closing highlights of Derry’s year as City of Culture - and it is expected that thousands of people will take in the remarkable sights around the town - including the transformation of Austin’s Department Store, an unforgettable illumination at Ebrington and a special tribute to our shirt factory history in Rosemount.

Helen Marriage, Artistic Director of Artichoke, the team behind Lumiere, said: “There will be 17 artworks on show, several of which are completely new installations that have been commissioned from local and international artists especially for the city.

“We’ve been working with local communities here for nearly two years now, and hundreds of residents have had a part to play in the making of Lumiere.

“Everyone from local schoolchildren to the PSNI has been involved in the project. It is a festival for the people of the city by the people of the city. We’ve tried to find a way to give everyone a voice”.

Mayor of Derry Counsellor Martin Reilly said: “Lumiere is set to provide us with an amazing four winter evenings to enjoy an outdoor spectacular, bringing the people of the city together with host of visiting spectators to one of the most anticipated events in the City of Culture calendar.

“Thousands will witness the transformation of landmarks, spaces and buildings as a series of art installations, animation and light projections illuminate our cityscape, altering some of our most familiar and well-loved buildings such as Austin’s and our iconic Peace Bridge.

“I am delighted that we can accommodate the delivery of this free public festival of art and light,”

Visitors are encouraged to keep up-to-date with the latest travel news and parking information by following updates on Twitter via the #Lumierederry hashtag, as well on the Lumiere website, www.lumiere-festival.com