Rainbow lights 'signal hope' as part of Barking and Dagenham festival

Global Rainbow

Global Rainbow lights up the night sky as part of this year's GLOW festival. - Credit: Richard Johnson/RJ Photographics

Mysterious colours streaming across the night sky in the borough are not meteors or alien signals, but part of a festival of light.

Colourful lasers in the skies over Easter were the light installation Global Rainbow which beamed its rays across the borough from the top of CU London in Dagenham.

global rainbow

The artwork was placed on top of the former Civic Centre in Dagenham. - Credit: Alastair Muir

The artwork by Yvette Mattern had previously been used to launch the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in the northeast and northwest of England and Northern Ireland.

It is the first of three installations staged as part of the GLOW festival which aims to share a message of hope as lockdown eases. Details of the remaining artworks are being kept under wraps.

Melissa Lowndes, who helped organise GLOW, said: "I really hope the festival will be a visual embodiment of hope and solidarity through diversity at the end of a dark winter."

glow festival installation

The GLOW festival was held at Eastbury Manor House in 2018. - Credit: Jimmy Lee Photography


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The festival, which has been curated by a team from Creative Barking and Dagenham (CBD), previously took place at Eastbury Manor House. It has been designed to be seen without the need for crowds.

Sarah Wickens, head of programme at CBD, said: "GLOW is a great example of what can be achieved when residents, artists and a range of partners work together."

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CBD tasks people with choosing, creating and taking part in art experiences. At the heart of its programme are so-called cultural connectors - people from the borough who choose the artists and host events.

Cultural connector Sule Shevket said: "I am more excited about this year than ever before. After the last 12 months, we all needed a beacon of hope to brighten our way out of darkness.

"When planning GLOW, we have been trying to figure out how to connect the communities of our borough through art, even though we were no longer able to meet face to face.

"I have to say I am very proud of all of us who were involved. We had to think outside of the box and together we have achieved something quite spectacular."

CBD is part of a group which includes Barking and Dagenham College, Barking and Dagenham Council, Barking Enterprise Centre, BD Collective and Studio 3 Arts.

It is funded by Arts Council England and the town hall.

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