Winter Lights 2019 brightened the January evening skies at Canary Wharf as free festival returned for the fifth year

Evenings were illuminated through the language of light and technology with the return of the Winter Lights festival. 25-metre projections of marching elephants and rhinos and 24,000 individual suspended lights as the fifth iteration of the festival dazzled, enchanted and amazed over 500,000 visitors over 12 days in January.
In response to this year’s theme of sustainability and waste reduction, many of the 21 artworks displayed had been crafted using recycled and sustainable materials. Others also portrayed strong messages about recycling and climate change.

Squidsoup’s walkthrough experience Submergence was the largest ever version of their artwork shown, made up of 24,000 individual points of suspended lights.

Also making its UK debut at Canary Wharf was Whale Ghost from French creative studio Pitaya. This 18 metre, monumental silhouette of the whale encouraged visitors to think about the effect of humans on our biodiversity.
Newcomer Time & Tide, created by Paul & Pute drew attention to halting the pollution of the ocean with plastics, highlighting the limited time left to repair the plastic problem before damage to the planet is irreversible.
People were drawn to the unmissable fifty pivoting prisms at Jubilee Plaza that make up RAW Design’s Prismatica, acting as enormous kaleidoscopes.

New this year was Floating Islands by Mürüde Mehmet. Made from plastic bottles by children of Tower Hamlets and painted in fluorescent colours, these vibrant floating islands showed the waste created by plastic as the sculptures drift down streams in Jubilee Park. Elsewhere, Recyclism by Art of OK evoked a deep underlying message of showing the world how to transform our waste into beautiful objects.

Public Arts curator of Canary Wharf Group plc, Keith Watson comments:

“To mark the fifth year of the Winter Lights festival at Canary Wharf, we wanted to capture the atmosphere of the nation in moving towards a more sustainable future and collated artworks that were profound in their creation and appearance.

By incorporating themes around the relationship between everyday materials and the environment, we wanted to continue pushing the conversation about waste across all generations through inspiring artworks that were accessible to all. The pieces on show were by some of the world’s most renowned artists and were an unforgettable experience and education for everyone who attended throughout January.”

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