Christmas Outdoors

By Baishali Banerjee

Without lights, what would Christmas or even the days, weeks, or months leading up to it be? They illuminate our streets with festive cheer, make our trees sparkle, and fill our windows with a comforting glow. The history of London’s Christmas displays, however, may illuminate the city’s dynamic connections between residents, municipal governments, and corporations in addition to being a stunning spectacle. The custom began to develop in Regent Street in 1954 when local merchants and establishments coordinated a display under the auspices of the Regent Street Association. The idea was to demonstrate that Christmastime in post-war London did not have to be “drab.” This Christmas, Winter Lights brings together artworks that take inspiration from light, color and the poetics of space. To know more, read Christmas Outdoors.

London is one city that takes its holiday lighting extremely seriously; it is a dazzling and exciting destination all year long, but it is much more so during the run-up to Christmas. Winter Lights display up around the site and they are contemporary artworks by artists from all over the world.

David Ogle’s electric neon sculpture Loomin illuminates the riverbank Queen’s Walk. He uses his skill at drawing, composition, and line work in public settings. On the Queen’s Walk along the river, these lights encircle the trees.

Dichroic Sphere is a geodesic dome consisting of acrylic sheets and dichroic film that reflects multicoloured light in all directions. It was created by Danish light artist and designer Jakob Kvist. Depending on the angle at which the light strikes it, the sphere and the surroundings around it take on a different color.

Additionally, there is a magnificent installation comprised of two metal branches that spinned lights on top of the Hayward Gallery. Conrad Shawcross’s meditation on angular momentum, Dark Heart, also makes use of literary and scientific allusions, such as the search for the whale in Moby Dick, the search for the Heart of Darkness in Joseph Conrad’s same-titled novel, the spiral symbol for fixation, etc. This piece is the artist’s first outdoor mechanical creation, but this year it is being displayed in a novel method, which is thrilling.

To know more about the Winter Lights Exhibition, visit

To know more about David Ogle’s electric neon sculpture, Loomin, visit

To know more about Dichroic Sphere by Jacob Kvist, visit

To know more about Conrad Shawcross’s Dark Heart, visit

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