Thousands flock to 10th anniversary of Lumiere - as total figure expected to hit one million

Hundreds of thousands of people braved the rain to flock to Durham’s Lumiere as it took over the city for four nights of spectacular light art.

The tenth anniversary edition of Lumiere Durham closed on Sunday, November 17, and the first estimates put the number of visitors at 165,000, bringing the number of people who have enjoyed the festival since it began in 2009 at just over one million.

Lumiere is produced by Artichoke, the UK’s leading producers of art in the public realm, and commissioned by Durham County Council with additional support from Arts Council England, Durham University and a host of further funders and supporters.

The largest light festival in the UK saw visitors enjoy 37 dramatic installations and projections showcasing the creativity of both international and local artists working in the medium of light. Iconic landmarks were transformed, including Durham Cathedral, lit up from within by candlelit installation Spirit, whilst the public could manipulate the sound and light installation Stones on the historic building’s exterior.

Crowds enjoying Wave-Field Variation H at Lumiere

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    As always the programme had a strong international element, with artists from Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and France bringing their work to Durham. Visitor favourites included Geometrical Traces by Spanish artist Javier Riera, whose mesmerising artwork created 3-D patterns across the treeline above Prebends Bridge, and Fujiko Nakaya’s Fogscape #03238, a ghostly shape-shifting vapour that wound its way around the trees and over the river underneath Durham Cathedral.

    The long-awaited return of Jaques Rival’s giant snow globe in Durham’s Market Place, with its joyful neon affirmation I Love Durham, drew smiles in the rain. Another favourite return was the colossal Baleen whale Mysticete, by French artists Top’la Design / Catherine Garret.

    Helen Marriage, artistic director of Artichoke, said: “When Artichoke created our first Lumiere festival in Durham in 2009, we never expected that we’d be celebrating its 10th anniversary. Over the years, we’ve brought artists from all over the world to transform Durham’s cityscape.

    “Thousands of local people have been involved in Lumiere projects during this decade and our community involvement is set to grow further with dedicated work in the ‘off’ years as well.”


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    Shoefeti saw illuminated shoes dangling in the streets
    Light Tunnel at Lumiere