Barking and Dagenham light festival ends with message of peace

Peace Poem

Peace Poem is the final instalment in this year's Glow festival. - Credit: Jimmy Lee Photography

A light festival has ended with a 14 feet high illuminated poem about peace.

Peace Poem, by Scottish poet Robert Montgomery, was driven through the streets of Barking and Dagenham on top of a platform between April 14 and 18.

The piece was originally created for the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice when the countries which fought in the First World War laid down their arms.

It aims to shine a light on the people who worked to create peace over the last century.

Sarah Wickens, head of programme at Creative Barking and Dagenham (CBD), said: "Peace Poem was a special way to conclude Glow festival.

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"Over five days, the artwork travelled the length and breadth of the borough to share a message of hope and togetherness.

"The artwork has helped mark the centenary year of the Becontree estate, which was built following the armistice speech made by David Lloyd George in 1918."

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CBD is the group of organisations backing the festival. It includes Barking and Dagenham College, the council, Barking Enterprise Centre, BD_Collective and Studio 3 Arts.

The event included two other artworks: Global Rainbow and Lullaby. 

The London premiere of Global Rainbow, by Yvette Mattern, was beamed into the night sky in the pattern of a rainbow from the top of CU London in Dagenham.

Lullaby, by Luke Jerram, saw volunteers decorating their bikes with lights for a night-time bike ride through the streets, playing lullaby music through speakers.

Glow was curated by the CBD cultural connectors network of people who live in the borough.

The festival has taken place at Eastbury Manor House in the past, but this year events popped up around Barking and Dagenham. 

Peace Poem

The piece was originally created for the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice when the countries which fought in the First World War laid down their arms. - Credit: Jimmy Lee Photography

Peace Poem is a light installation from the outdoor art company Emergency Exit Arts.

Daniel Bernstein, its chief executive, explained the artwork: "Negative peace is about the absence of war. Positive peace is about the restoration of relationships and the creation of social systems that benefit everyone through the constructive resolution of conflict.

"We need to respect different points of view; [come] together to seek out the common ground; and never [lose[ sight of the bigger picture that unites us." 

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