Winter Lights 2019

Canary Wharf is hosting it’s Winter Lights event again this year and last night was the first night it was on, so I, along with my sister and niece, went to see what colourful, creative displays would be on show.

Stepping out of the station we were greeted with one of the most popular displays. This consisted of coloured light balls hanging on wires in neat rows, changing colour in time with the rhythm of the music that was being played. It was quite surreal standing in the middle surrounding by these lights and really fun one. I did, however, find it really tricky trying to get a good photo.
I also thought the recycled plastic insects were interesting which didn’t have any light but the fluorescent paint made them glow. And the lit up hopscotch game made me think of when I used to play when I was younger (and yes I did have ago!).

Some of the installations had music or sounds to go along with them, like the lines making up the shape of a whale, which emitted whale noises and moved like one too. The fountains had playful music along with varying shapes and colours the shooting water made which I quite enjoyed.

One thing I noticed was that there was a lot of colourful pieces this year. The lit up, colour changing maze was one, and was quite fun, but the other piece I really liked were the beautifully colourful prisms, that you could spin to create a reflective effect. These were also tricky to photograph as people kept spinning them really fast but I finally got a decent shot. Next we walked up to the square filled with glowing, colourful trees making them seem almost dreamlike. This one was nice just to sit and look at, giving us a chance to have a little rest.

I think one of the most clever and interactive installations was the colourful bench that when you put your hand on the sensor showed your heartbeat in lines and patterns along where you were sitting. I also liked the animal silhouettes that walked along the water edge with corresponding animal sounds playing around you, something simple but effective.

It took us a few hours to find all the installations, by which point we were pretty cold and tired, but we did all really enjoy the event. The Winter Lights event is on for 2 weeks and I would definitely recommend if you happen to be around. Just remember to wrap up.

Camden Town

I visited Camden again not too long ago to show my niece around the markets and to look for some street art, which is always great. It was a rainy day but we didn’t let that dampen our enthusiasm. We first walked through Little Venice which holds canal boats, has pretty bridges and willow trees with drooping branches. There was a also a section where people had started to attach locks to the gates that was interesting.

Next we headed to the markets to get out of the rain for a while and to get something to eat. As well as food stalls there were lots of shops and stalls which had really cool and beautiful things. I especially liked the Moroccan style lamps and the retro cameras.

Having dried off a little we decided to head back out and see what street art we could find. It didn’t take us long to find some colourful, creative, amazing artwork. I love Dan Kitchener’s work and have seen it in several spot’s around London, and this rainy scene was very apt for the day. I also really liked the girl with flowers in her hair and the couple standing under a running tap, although it’s a shame that was spoiled a little with the black spray over it.

There was street art on huge walls as murals, in doorways and around almost every corner, so it took us a while to go around. I was familiar with some of the styles of some artists so it was great to see what new pieces they had done. I liked the coloured, squared doorway, something I can imagine having in my home, and the solemn looking girl I thought was really striking.

We eventually made it back to the station, having found dozens of new street art pieces and feeling quite satisfied, if not a bit wet. And my niece didn’t think Camden was quite as peculiar as I made it out to be. Street art is always changing, which is one of the great things about it, and Camden and other places in London really encourage street artist to be creative and bold, which I hope to see more of.

2018 Highlights

As 2018 draws to a close, it’s natural to reflect back on the year. I hope that you all have had a significant and positive one. 2018 for me has had some highs, such as having a new niece join our family, starting a new job, as well as experiencing fun, new things such as taking a candy making course. I’ve also been able to visit new places and had a break away with my family. My lows have been feeling unmotivated and uninspired at times to post on my blog, and wondering if it’s still relevant. I have also felt like the world is passing me by and that I have so much I still want to do.

I leave you with some of my favourite photos of the 2018 and I wish you all happy New Year and with the hope that 2019 is one of fullfillment, happiness and adventure for all of us.

Frieze Sculpture 2018

I visited London’s Regent’s Park earlier this year to look at the sculptures that had been placed there by Frieze. I visited last year and really liked some of the interesting sculptures displayed so was keen to see what new ones would be on show this year.

There were 25 sculptures by various artists on show, some were quite strange, others fun and a few quite eerie.

One of my favourites was the big yellow house, I thought it looked surreal amongst the green grass

I also liked the cute by creepy Dancing Clog Girls, and the giant Emperor penguin.

My other favourite piece was the gold leaf with colours on the inside, I loved how the colours emerged from the gold frame as you walked past the sculpture. I found the headless sculptures quite haunting, these depicting the ghosts of those slain in the Marikana Massacre.

A few others stood out too for met too; the huge anvil with the hare perched on top and the lampposts that had been tangled together was interesting. The girl resting on her side was based on Alice in Wonderland and looked quite serene to me.

I thought the sculptures this year were quite interesting, each emoting quite different feelings from the viewer, especially the ones that were reminders of darker times. I really enjoyed my visit and look forward to seeing what the Frieze presents to us next year.

Shrouds of the Somme

Shrouds of the Somme is an exhibition by Rob Heard at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and is a physical representation of every one of the 72,396 British Commonwealth servicemen killed at the Somme that have no known grave. I went along with my sister to have a look and to remember all those that have fallen in war.

Each fallen servicemen was represented as an individual, miniature figure wrapped in a shroud. The figures were laid out in neat rows, and were slightly different to one another. Looking at the shrouds, it was astonishing and incredibly powerful to see just how large a number 72,396 is, a number that is difficult to comprehend in your head.

To one side of the field, there were a smaller number figures. These had placards at the head of each figure with a number and a date. The dates ran from the battles before the Somme in 1914 and ran to battles until 1918. There were dates for every day in those years. The numbers below the dates showed how many servicemen have died on that day. The deadliest day was at the start of the Somme, July 1st with 19,240 that died.

The exhibition was a very powerful one, and quite an emotional one my sister and I found. It was difficult, poignant and important to see just how many had died for our freedom and way of life.

I was pleased to see that there were lots of school children on a day trip to the see the shrouds. We have to hope that exhibitions like these have an impact on future generations and that we look for peaceful solutions to conflicts instead of violent ones that destroy families and communities.

This quote by the artist Rob Heard in the booklet I bought has stayed with me since I read it and I’m sure will stay with me for along time yet
“As a nation, we marked the beginning of the centenary of the beginning of the war with ceramic poppies in the summer sunshine and will commemorate the end with 72,000 dead bodies laid out in the November rain”

Elephant Parade London

There’s an Elephant’s Parade in London for a few weeks this Summer. The elephant’s in this case are not real elephants but statues that have been decorated and dotted around London for you to discover. Last weekend I took my sister and my niece along with me to find them.

The first few were close to the station as was a shop selling miniature versions of the elephants that you could take home.

After visiting the shop we looked for the others in the area. There were a number clustered in a park that were decorated in different colours and styles. I really liked the black elephant with colourful flowers, and thought some of the styles were quite innovative and interesting

After spending some time looking at the elephants, taking photos and admiring the paint work we looked for others that were located close by.

The last few that we found were also very pretty, I especially liked the blue and white patterned one and the metal one made of clock faces. The elephants were all located fairly close to each other so it didn’t take too long to find them, which was good as it was very hot (and in previous years looking for the statues has taken a lot longer as they are spread out so much more across London)

What I like about these sorts of events in London is that they’re free, everyone of all ages join in and the artwork is always really creative, colourful and fun. I also love how they make you go off the beaten track in London and discover some parts that you would never otherwise see, such as the last few located near a big screen showing tennis with deckchairs to relax in. These elephants will eventually be auctioned off with the money raised going to charity which I think is great.

Chelsea in Bloom 2018

The Chelsea Flower Show is a world famous event that happens each year in London. Lucky for me though an alternative event called Chelsea in Bloom that takes place at the same time. Chelsea in Bloom is a flower competition that boutiques, restaurants and other retailers take part in around Chelsea, each showing off their creative flair. This year my sister and I decided to scout out the displays. The theme this year was ‘Summer of Love’ inspired by the Royal Wedding and the 60’s/70’s cultural revolution. Some of the shop fronts had pretty arches over doorways, others had some truly creative and beautiful pieces.

One that I really liked was the arch of blue and purple flowers, because it was really neat, I love blues and purples and most importantly the flowers smelled amazing. I can’t say the other displays really smelled of much but this one had a very fragrant smell, one that I wish I could have bottled.

The other ones that really stood out for me were the giant colourful skeletons, The pretty swans and the huge floral engagement rings. My other favourite was the hotel front covered entirely in flowers, unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a good photo of that as there was a double decker bus parked right in front of it!

It was quite tiring walking around, especially as the map provided wasn’t very accurate, but we did manage to find most of the flower displays and it was great to see fresh flowers used to create some really interesting, fun and sometimes beautiful displays. I think it was a nice, free, event and one that I can imagine revisiting next year.

The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist

The Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square has recently become home to a new piece of art called The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist by Michael Rakowitz and is a replica of Lamassu, a mythological beast that guarded Assyrian city of Nineveh, which was destroyed in 2005 in Iraq. In the hot sunshine, the colourful Iraqi date syrup tins pieces that make up the beast glimmered.

I really loved the colour, details and symbolism of this statue and I felt it was quite different to what’s been displayed in Square in the past.

If you have a chance I would definitely visit this piece of art which will be on display until 2020.

Camden Street Art

Camden is known to have some great street art, and on my last visit there I decided to go looking to see what I could find. With street art you often have to go off the beaten track (so to speak) to discover art on sides of buildings, behind fences and on practically any surface that looks appealing. After some searching I found some really amazing art, by some talented artists.

I think my favourite find was this Chimpanzee face painted on a wall, I thought the detail was really impressive, and I really liked the colourful owl made with bold strokes.

There was probably loads more tucked away on side streets and behind buildings and I hope to go back at some point to see what else has been left behind, as well as new pieces drawn over the old.

Winter Lights 2018

The Winter season in London can sometimes feel long and cold, but to help brighten it up there have been a couple of light events to make the most of it getting dark early. There was Lumiere London which had art installations scattered around central London, and there was also a similar event held in Canary Wharf, which was just as great. This event was also held last year which was very good, so I was looking forward to this year’s.

One windy evening my sister and I headed down to see what was on show. There were installations indoors ad well as out but we decided to do the ones outside first. There were some really interesting ones that I really liked, such as Halo which was a ring of lights and to make it even better it was suspended above a pool of water giving it a nice reflection. My favourite was the wonderful Dodecahedron which you could also climb into to take in the stunning colours. The huge inflated, lit up rabbit was also cute I thought. There were also pieces that interacted with music or with movement by people that was interesting.

Once we’d seen all the installations outside, we headed indoors to see the ones displayed there as well as warm up, as we were freezing. I thought these ones were even lovelier than the ones outside. There was wearable fashion such as a dress with LEDs and a clutch that you could have words appear on.

One that was really intriguing, simple and so effective were the giant, colourful, bubble-like balloons hanging from rods. They were made from plastic strips and as they retracted and expanded they changed shape as they spun. My absolute favourite though, were the colourful mosaic lanterns that cast beautiful light patterns on the walls and ceiling. I did suggest it could be my next birthday present but I don’t think my sister will be taking it as they were quite pricey.

There were a few we couldn’t find but having wandered around Canary Wharf for long enough we decided it was time to go home. I thought this light event was really good, and I feel lucky to be able to see such great art installations close to home, which certainly helped brighten up the winter nights.