On 27th November, Emergency Exit Arts produced our biggest light show of the year. EEA commissioned a group of local artists to create site-specific public art installations, creating a beautiful 1-mile light trail that connected Thamesmead and Bexley.
Over 5000 people embraced this unique illuminated walk and explored extraordinary artworks and landscapes (despite the cold and rainy weather!)
From the 11th century Lesnes Abbey ruins filled with recorded local voices, to light installations on Southmere lake celebrating Thamesmead’s flora and fauna, Light The Way was a spectacular Thamesmead will never forget. EEA successfully delivered creativity and excitement to areas less engaged with the arts industry.
The event featured 25 installations, activities, and festive food stalls starting from Southmere Lake and ending at Lesnes Abbey:
Miyuki Kasahara - Lantern Making Workshop
For Light the Way, local artist Miyuki Kasahara has created a unique workshop to create a bespoke, upcycled lantern to help light your way on the trail.
Robert Montgomery and Deanna Rodgers – Peace Poems
We are excited to have 2 Poems at Light the Way; one at Lesnes Abbey and one in Southmere Park.
Through talking and listening to communities about their experiences over lockdown, artists and poets Robert Montgomery and Deanna Rodger have created an inspiring light poem to commemorate what has been lost and also help us look ahead with hope and positivity.
This 14ft high illuminated poem was created to mark the centenary of the Armistice and Peace Treaties which marked the end of the First World War in 1919. The large-scale mobile artwork, created with leading artist and poet Robert Montgomery was inspired by the concept of Positive Peace developed by Johan Galtung, linking peace with justice and equality for all.
Instagram: @robertmontgomerystudio @deannarodger
Website: www.robertmontgomery.org; www.deannarodger.co.uk
Debo Adegoke, Alex Tuckwood and Lisa Cheung – T.U.G
T.U.G takes inspiration from watching waterfowl on the lake and the simple but elegant lines they make as they swim in each other's wake. This collaboration between local artists Debo Adegoke, Alex Tuckwood and Lisa Cheung with RC boat volunteers will transform found objects into floating lit lines of sculptures pulled by Radio-controlled tug boats to enliven Southmere Lake at night. The artwork is made out of recycled milk cartoons from local residents and shops.
Instagram: @dadstudeo @plastic.please
Websites: www.dadstudio.net; www.lisacheung.com; www.plasticplease.co.uk
musson+retallick – Fields of Everywhen
Artists M+R, aka Neil and Jono, plan to fly their small-scale test balloon. They will be collecting local stories and encouraging the Thamesmead community to embroider them. This artwork will become a vast hot air balloon flown next summer.
Jackson Payne - Propeller
Local artist Jackson Payne has created Propeller; an audio-visual installation of holograms dispersed amongst the trees and shrubbery by the lakeside. The sound composition features ambient sounds of the forestry as well as field recordings and sampled loops.
Rich Sylvester - Stories in the Woods
Storyteller Rich Sylvester works across Greenwich as a “Guide to Green Spaces and Old Places”. Join him in the woods for lively stories about the environment and history, whilst keeping cosy next to the fire.
Greenwich Dance - Mid Summerland
Breathe in, press play and set off on an extraordinary adventure. Take the Noodle Pathway, past the Cannonball Hedgehogs, through the Thoughtful Field and into the mysterious tent where your fortune will be told. This personal, interactive audio art trail by Greenwich Dance encourages exploration and play between parent and child.
As part of the South Thamesmead Garden Estate Project, MUF are testing new lighting that will be installed to enhance Thamesmead’s architectural bridges.
The Cage will be open with a programme of local talent including art workshops by C-That and Curtis Donovan, basketball competitions for all ages, dance workshops by Dynamix and Kenson, Don Fabio and Drank Sriracha from RTM spinning tunes + J Cocoa closing on vocals. This event is part of wider engagement that will see new local artwork commissioned as part of the renovation of The Cage.
Instagram: @the_cage_tm @cthat.co.uk @jcocoa_official @dynamix_dancerz @rtm.fm @c.donovanartist @dancer.ras @dranksriracha
Nathalie Coste - Electronic Poetry
Local artist Nathalie Coste creates online writing workshops broadcast from Thamesmead by Thamesmead residents and turns them into community artworks. At Light the Way, Nathalie will display the works of Bonnie, Hassan and Geeta that attended the Black Lives Matter workshop led by Natasha Trent aka Fishmessages.
Taking inspiration from images of climate breakdown and the melting of the permafrost, local artist Nathalie Coste will premier Instafrost; an illuminated sculpture made of willow and reclaimed parachutes. Her recent artwork is about the words that worry us - climate change, lockdown solitude and virtuality. She transforms these words into rounded shapes that you can catch, knead, stroke, cuddle.
Instagram: @_nathalie_coste_ @fishmessages
The Hourglass is an impressive 4-metre-high sculptural piece created in collaboration with light wizards Illuminos with an inspiring story by Arji Manuelpillai. It features an interactive show of internal project mapping that will connect audiences with the idea that we are all ‘one world’ and ‘one people'.
Instagram: @Illuminosvales, @arjimanuelpillai
Website: www.illuminos.co.uk, www.arji.org
Cristina Ottonello - Roses
Artist Cristina Ottonello uses a surreal approach to the world of nature that is reinvented as an irreverent fantasy of intriguing objects and wonderful creatures. Her work provides an unexpected and fairytale presence in the urban landscape. For Light the Way, she will showcase her handcrafted, oversized roses that line the entrance to Lesnes Abbey.
Thor McIntyre-Burnie - Arbores Vocalis
The Abbey cloister has been occupied by a flock of voices, gathered & choreographed by Artist Thor McIntyre-Burnie (Aswarm). They speak & sing about that intangible sense we get from spending time amongst the trees of Abbey Woods. A Gregorian style plainsong co-written with Jeremy Jackman and sung by the choirs of Bexley Music uses the Latin names of these trees to interweave with the words of the people that love and use the woods.
Instagram: @aswarm_works @bexley_music
Website: www.aswarm.com; www.bexley-music.co.uk
Light up Lesnes
Lighting Designer Craig West will transform Lesnes Abbey into a stunning wash of colour through a lighting programme that responds to the voice and song of Vocalis Arbores.
For more information, please visit www.thamesmeadnow.org.uk
Light The Way is produced by Emergency Exit Arts in partnership with Peabody London and London Borough of Bexley, with the support of Heritage Fund UK and Clever Cities. This project has received funding from the #euhorizon2020 innovation action programme under grant agreement No 776604.