Lumiere announces return of popular whale in the Wear artwork ahead of 10th anniversary show

Next month sees the return of Lumiere to Durham – and audiences are being given a teaser of what to expect from the 10th anniversary spectacular.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 9:00 am
Mysticète, Top’là Design / Catherine Garret, Lumiere Durham 2015. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Organisers of the hugely-popular light festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people to Durham City, have announced that festival favourite Mysticète is coming back to the River Wear.

The mesmerising 3D projection of a Baleen whale emerging out of the water, created by design agency Top’là and visual artist Catherine Garret, was a much-loved feature of Lumiere Durham 2015. For the festival’s 10th anniversary edition, taking place from November 14-17 this year, it will resurface on the River Wear at a new location north of Pennyferry Bridge.

It is the first of several popular returning artworks to be announced for the 10th anniversary, along with a host of new commissions from leading international artists working with the medium of light. The full line-up will be announced on October 17.

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Mysticète, Top’là Design / Catherine Garret, Lumiere Durham 2015. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Artist Catherine Garret said: “I have always loved the strength, grace and majesty of whales - I first imagined Mysticète as a ballet. To me it’s important that we feel we are a part of nature rather than separate from it, and that by taking care of the Earth and living things we are taking care of ourselves. In light of the environmental issues and natural disasters we are currently experiencing, Mysticète feels even more relevant than when it came to Lumiere in 2015. I want to create a bond between nature and everyone who sees the work, especially children. When you look at their spellbound faces, you realise they are the generation we are passing our world onto.”

Coun Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “When people talk to us about their favourite Lumiere installations, the ‘whale in the river’ comes up time and time again. We are delighted Mysticète is returning to Durham for Lumiere’s tenth anniversary edition.”

*Lumiere, commissioned by Durham County Council and produced by arts charity Artichoke, will take place from November 14-17 2019 across Durham City.