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Friday, 15 January 2016

Canary Wharf's Winter Lights

Multi-coloured butterflies flit across the grass at Canary Wharf - one of a series of 18 art installations that are bringing a glow to winter evenings in east London. On the Wings of Freedom is the work of Aether and Hemera who say the butterflies are symbols of change, creativity and joy. Viewers can interact with them by using mobile phones to change the lighting effects.
Nearby is The Pool, by Jen Lewin Studio. These giant rings are touch-sensitive, and turn the area into a huge playground where patterns of swirling and fading colours are created by shifting your weight or moving from one to another.
Also great fun is Aura (2014) by Philips Lighting Design, which reacts with sound and light to a hand placed in front of a globe.
Westferry Gardens is dominated by an 18ft high alien by Amanda Parer, inspired by the science- fiction film Fantastic Planet. Although it's tethered to the ground, gusts of wind make it move up and down in a very lifelike way.
In the Jubilee Park there's a moving reminder of the plight of the many Syrian refugees fleeing from conflict: My light is your light, by Alaa Minawi. It's described as a tribute to all refugees who yearn for their stories to be heard.
The Winter Lights Festival is free and runs until Jan 22, 2016. The installations are best seen between 4 and 9pm. There's a brochure with locations and descriptions at

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