Shima for Wellington, performed by Anna Kuroda, of Murasaki Penguin. Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

‘Shima for Wellington’, performed by Anna Kuroda, of Murasaki Penguin. Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Combining travel with art is my idea of bliss, so it’s fair to say that last weekend — spent in one of my favourite cities which happened to be hosting a light festival — was a pretty blissed-out experience.

Wellington LUX is a festival of light sculpture; clever, high-tech, whimsical and just plain gorgeous. By its nature, it’s a night-time event, so my photos are a bit wobbly, but I think they give a sense of the magic wrought by some very talented artists and designers with that most primal of materials — light.

Feed the Kids Too [Capital], Turtle Donna Sarten and Bernie Harfleet, Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo; Su Leslie, 2015

Feed the Kids Too [Capital]’, Turtle Donna Sarten and Bernie Harfleet, Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo; Su Leslie, 2015

Auckland artists Turtle Donna Sarten and Bernie Harfleet installed their ‘Feed the Kids Too‘ work, first seen at NZ Sculpture OnShore last year. Consisting of 1800 empty plastic lunchboxes, this incredibly popular and powerful work reminds us how many children in New Zealand go to school hungry each day. After last year’s Sculpture OnShore, the lunchboxes (6000 of them then) were cleaned, filled with food and distributed to Auckland children. This time the artists have arranged with the Wellington City Mission to fill and distribute the boxes to local children who might otherwise go hungry.

Children + glow in the dark chalk = happiness. Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Children + glow in the dark chalk = happiness. Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Simon Burgin, "Gust". Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015,

Simon Burgin, ‘Gust‘. Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

Detail of "Gust", by Simon Burgin. Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Detail of ‘Gust‘, by Simon Burgin. Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Playing on Wellington’s notoriety as a very windy city, ‘Gust‘ projects images of its audience interacting with an imaginary wind – represented by geometric shapes.

30Forward; a video by Footnote New Zealand Dance, projected on waterscreen. Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

30Forward; a video by Footnote New Zealand Dance, projected on waterscreen. Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

30Forward comprised a performance video of dance company Footnote New Zealand. Projected on a water-screen in the harbour, this installation was incredibly popular — even when the wind blew spray all over the audience!

In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.

— Francis Bacon

Art can be a light shone on life, society, ideas; an illumination of the mind. In the case of LUX, Francis Bacon is doubly right.

This post was written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.

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On enjoying the art of light

32 thoughts on “On enjoying the art of light

  1. Marvelous, marvelous–I especially am drawn to the first three images, and the first one captures the joy and splendor of what night photography can be and the intersection of art and human nature. Well done. Sounds as though you built strong memories. Happy Photo Challenge.

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    • Thank you so much Sally. I was impressed by how many of the festival works were interactive. I didn’t capture it very well with the ‘Gust’ images, but children particularly loved the interaction of the projected cubes and lines with their own faces. It was such a joy to watch. Hope all is well with you as your part of the world heads into autumn.

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  2. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice: Night Photography (NYC) | Lens and Pens by Sally

  3. Lovely! And a wonderful use of the lunch boxes afterwards, though of course it shouldn’t be necessary. Didn’t know the Bacon quote but, never one to miss the opportunity to quote Leonard Cohen, it put me in mind of “…..there is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”

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  4. What an absolutely AMAZING festival this LUX appears to be – lucky you to be part of it. I find it incredible the concept of light being used in so many different ways, simply brilliant, and particularly like the lunchbox piece. It sheds light (pun intended) on an issue so many of us can’t believe, or aren’t even aware of, exists in our society today. Kudos to the artist! 🙂

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    • It was awesome. I’m glad you liked the lunchboxes. The artists, Bernie and Donna, are friends of mine, and I have huge admiration for their work. The original Feed the Kids Too was a real highlight of NZ Sculpture OnShore last year (without lighting — but on a bigger scale), and it’s proving incredibly popular at LUX. In between exhibitions, Donna and Bernie have been running a campaign over winter to collect and distribute blankets for some of the thousands of kids living in cold, damp houses in this country. They do all of this at their own cost, through sheer determination, canny organizational skills and the most generous hearts people could have.

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  5. Such a wonderful festival dear Su! Superb light effects,loved the Bacon quote!Light exists thanks to darkness!Most flamboyant night shots dear friend 🙂 xxx

    PS:I have never received your recent work,I noticed that my following had gone … I re-followed,hope I get a notification each time you post from now on 🙂

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    • Thank you Doda. I am having difficulties with Word Press at the moment. Posts from several blogs I follow never seem to appear in my reader any more. I have had to re-subscribe to them as well. I’m very glad to have you back. Hope you are having a good day my friend.

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      • I have the same difficulties,and have noticed that other WP members have too.They might update,we have to wait and see how it goes.Thanks for letting me know,at least I feel I am not the only one and that I didn’t do something wrong myself 🙂 xxx

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