Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Review: Lumiere

Some of the light installations around Londonderry

Spread over four and a half miles of both the Waterside and Cityside, the 17 installations of Lumiere are a dazzling feast for the eyes.

On a tour of the illuminated city, the first port of call was St Columb's Park. Completely transformed into a magical fire garden, the park was virtually unrecognisable, with hundreds of fire lights emblazoning a mesmerising trail of subtle glows and warmth. The flickering artwork and music was reminiscent of a time long forgotten; the sheer scale of the fire installation was astounding.

The clock tower at Ebrington Square was seen by thousands in a whole new light, providing the blank canvas for a unique sound and colour animation projected along the entire front of the building.

Made by over 120 local schoolchildren aged eight and nine, the projection kept the large gathering engrossed, and was a particular favourite among the many young children who watched.

Walking along the Peace Bridge, the crowds could see breathtaking illuminated sculptures in the form of human figures suspended from the bridge, and positioned around it.

Shining in the sky above like a beacon of hope, the famous lyrics of Teenage Kicks, by those beloved sons of Derry The Undertones, was umissable in bright neon.

A Stitch In Time, written in large gold letters, pierced the blackness around the renowned Rosemount Shirt factory, while a series of brightly coloured shirts adorned the windows of the Fabric World building on the Abercorn Road – a tribute to the long-standing history of the female factory workers of the city.

Awash with colour, large brightly-lit cones moved and swayed in the breeze on Queen's Quay, while the Gasyard was completely transformed into a beautiful fairground of soft lights, while in the background melancholic barrel-organ music evoked an atmosphere of eerieness.

In a fitting tribute to Derry City's football team's candystripe jerseys, the Bogside's Frederick Street featured a large projection of stripes on a side wall.

The highlight of the Cityside was the transformation of Austin's department store, where the front of the oldest independent department store in the world was turned into an intricately-detailed fairytale – like palace of colour and tranquil sound.

The spectacular festival of lights has created an enchanting, magical world in Derry. Little wonder, then, that this thrilling display has been extended until Sunday night.

Fionnuala O'Kane

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