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Located in the heart of Cardiff, the global premiere of ‘The Light of Winter / Goleuni’r Gaeaf’ installation expects to attract thousands of visitors to the city centre over the winter period.
A NEW light and sound installation has been unveiled in Cardiff city centre. Inspired by ancient Welsh tradition, the stunning installation – created specifically for Wales’ capital at a scale seen at only two other places worldwide – hopes to shine a light on the importance of togetherness and community spirit synonymous with the season.
In place from 25 Nov – 11 Feb and open daily from 8am-9pm, the free installation, located at St John’s Garden near Cardiff Market, invites families to immerse themselves in the responsive light and soundscape – which includes a version of the Welsh folksong Ar Lan y Mor, recorded by St John’s Choir.
Best enjoyed at dusk and after dark, the installation, which is a new addition to Cardiff’s winter attractions from FOR Cardiff, is inspired by the ancient Welsh Midwinter celebration. The traditional feast, held on the shortest day of the year, was known as ‘Goleuni’r Gaeaf (The Light of Winter)’, and was a time to celebrate community and welcome longer, brighter days.
In addition to the installation, there will be free family storytelling and art workshops in January ’23, hosted by local author and illustrator Jack Skivens. The artist, inspired by Goleuni’r Gaeaf, has designed a set of characters – a wren, robin, and starling – which will be located around the city centre to help families discover the installation.
Jack Skivens says,
“The story of the robin and the wren is synonymous with Celtic forklore, and deeply intertwined with the Winter Solstice. They are often used to guide people to wonderful places – and I hope this winter, they will help guide thousands of families to the Goleuni’r Gaeaf light and sound installation.
“I’m really excited to be delivering creative workshops in early January as I hope it will allow families to enjoy free, accessible activities in the city centre, and that they will help to educate and inspire young minds about Wales’ important traditional tales.”
Commissioned by FOR Cardiff and Christmas at Bute Park, and presented by Squidsoup, organisers hope that this free event will attract families from Cardiff and beyond to celebrate in the city centre at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is causing people across the UK to tighten their belts.
Recent surveys show 70% of Brits are cutting back this Christmas, with 46% saying they will cut back on eating out, and 35% cutting out general socializing.
Adrian Field, Executive Director at FOR Cardiff, says,
“The public are looking for inexpensive ways to take part in Christmas festivities and days out this winter. This light and sound installation hopes to bring people together, to enable them to have a free, enjoyable experience with family and friends, during the winter season.
“For businesses, the pre-and post-Christmas period is the busiest time of the year. We really hope that, as this is the first winter period in almost three years where businesses can open fully without restrictions, this exhibition will remind families what an enjoyable experience heading into the city centre can be.”
Cathryn Peach-Barns, Creative Producer, Christmas at Bute Park, added,
“We are thrilled to be working with For Cardiff and Squid Soup in bringing an immersive installation to life, right in the Heart of the City Centre, which everyone can enjoy this festive season. The scale of this unique work has only ever been presented in two places in the world, so it is an honour to bring it to Cardiff and be part of such an exciting commission.
“The importance of togetherness this winter is something we feel strongly about, and we feel everyone of all ages should have access to such a wondrous piece of creativity. It has been fantastic to work collaboratively on this project, and we are thrilled so many families can enjoy this exhibition for free.”