The light and sound installation ‘Where there is light’ at Ferens Art Gallery until Sunday is definitely a shining light at this year’s Freedom Festival.
The Hull-based festival was founded in 2007 on the two hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain, campaigned for by the city’s own William Wilberforce.
Its consistent theme is to inspire all ages to embrace and celebrate freedom.
‘Where there is light’ fits into this as an art installation exploring the theme of light and hope from the viewpoint of refugees and asylum seekers nationwide, including Hull.
In essence, ‘Where there is light’ has an entertaining and varying light display which the visitor can walk among.
This is overlaid with a unique sound narration of refugees and asylum seekers from nationwide, including Hull, sharing memories on the theme of light and hope.
The project was funded by the Arts Council and initially led by Gloucestershire-based immersive experiences company Squidsoup and the cultural charity ArtReach.
Freedom Festival partnered with Coventry City of Culture and Halton Borough of Culture to enable the light and sound installation to tour nationally over the summer, including to the festival.
Sameena Khan was the lead outreach artist and virtual art workshops have been taking place.
The workshops were used to call up memories and responses to the theme of light in refugee and asylum seeker participants.
These were recorded and then edited to form the soundscape in the light installation.
There is also brief light background music between recordings played.
Hull’s workshops were run by Peter Snelling of production company My Pockets, who described the workshops as full of “laughter and fun”.
When I visited the installation, there were a number of young families experiencing it, too.
It underlined how the light display, with cables fitted with small bulbs running down from the ceiling to a foot above the floor, made it a fun environment for all.
The colours vary constantly. One moment, you can be in the corner of the installation surrounded by blue hues.
These can then develop into a violet colour, before switching off as the lights dance across the separate cables to the other side of the space.
Several children when I went seemed to greatly enjoy chasing the colours.
It is best appreciated if you walk gradually through the light installation area and view it from all possible angles, including the very centre.
To pick up best the short anecdotal recordings on the meaning of light and hope to the refugees and asylum seekers who participated in the workshops, make your way to a corner of the installation.
From there, you can still drink in the splendid light display while also allowing yourself to reflect on the sound narrative and stories shared through that.
At least one of the recordings reflected on the theme of light while going through a period of depression.
The installation is available to view at the Ferens Art Gallery until Sunday, when the Freedom Festival comes to a close.
Overall, I was as impressed with the ‘Where there is light’ installation as the magnificent Gaia globe in Hull Minster.
Events yet to come in the festival include the British Street Food awards, taking place in High Street, near Myton Bridge, from Friday.
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