River of Light returns to Liverpool this autumn

Autumn sees the return of the popular River of Light to Liverpool with the waterfront illuminated with multiple artworks for 17 nights. Tony McDonough reports

River of Light
River of Light is returning to Liverpool in autumn 2022


River of Light will return to Liverpool waterfront for 17 days this autumn.

From Friday, October 21, to Sunday, November 6, 10 artworks from a host of local, national and international artists will be on display along a 2km route. They will include a mix of brand new, never-before-seen commissions as well as existing artworks.

The theme of this year’s free event is Unexpected Twist in a nod to the World Gymnastics Championships 2022 which is taking place in the city during the same period. Full details of all ten pieces, the artists and their locations will be unveiled next month. However, two of 10 have been announced:

  • BEAM – Lucid Creates (artists Helen Swan and Chris Carr) will use a beam of light to transport visitors to a hot, summer’s day, accompanied by the sounds of the countryside. But after several minutes the feeling of peace and warmth will change to unease and suspense. Located at Canning Graving Dock, opposite the Museum of Liverpool.
  • Evanescent – A series of giant bubbles will take over Exchange Flags courtesy of Australian artists Atelier Sisu. The immersive sound and light structure will react to visitors as they explore the artwork, depicting the transient nature of human existence.

Helen Swan from Lucid Creates said: “The experiences we design are always formed through collaboration between the place and its people, the soundscape and its composers, and the structure and its visuals.

“Every time we bring one of our projects to River of Light, Liverpool and its people unite with us in creating spectacular experiences that are entirely unique in energy and style.

November 2021’s River of Light event was hailed as the most successful to date. Around 150,000 visitors attended the festival. City centre restaurants and shops saw an increase in demand.

Liverpool BID Company recorded its highest footfall rates since the start of the pandemic. Around 1.5m people visited the retail area during the October half term 2021. Liverpool ONE also benefited, with 15% more diners at its restaurants, compared to the same period in 2019.

River of Light will be delivered by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team and is supported by Arts Council England. Click here for the latest information or follow @visitliverpool (Twitter and Facebook) or @visitliverpool_ (Instagram).

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said: “River of Light is officially an autumn staple and we’re delighted to announce the trail is back this year in all its illuminated glory.

“This is our fifth year of staging this popular outdoor art gallery, but each year it has evolved. Locations have been tweaked, different installations have been introduced and each time we work with new artists from all over the world.”

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