Top artist to help add dazzle to Blackpool Illuminations

Blackpool Illuminations is set to get a splash of hi-tech design thanks to a £48,000 grant and a top British artist

Sunday, 18th April 2021, 12:30 pm

Blackpool has been successful in applying to the Arts Council for the national arts lottery award to deliver an exciting new artists’ research and development programme.

It will lead to new works being created for the Blackpool Illuminations, Grundy Art Gallery and Lightpool Festival from 2021.

The programme includes working in collaboration with the Grundy Art Gallery and international artist Dr Chila Kumari Burman on a co-commission that will become part of the gallery’s contemporary light collection.

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Chila Kumari Burman with her work for the Winter Commission at the Tate Phot by Joe Humphrys

Also as part of the programme, there will be an artist in residence at Lightworks, the bespoke factory and home of the world famous Blackpool Illuminations, and a series of digital commissions to create new work for the promenade, The Blackpool Tower and St John’s Square.

Coun Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council said: “We are delighted to have been successful with our bid, allowing us to develop new collaborations with an exciting range of artists.”

“These commissions will allow us to experiment with the latest technologies and create amazing new works for our audiences to enjoy and interact with”.

Chila Kumari Burman who will be working with Blackpool Illuminations and the Grundy, was born in Bootle and attended the Slade School of Fine Art. Her work led to her being a key figure in the British Black Arts movement in the 1980s. She explores the diverse nature of culture and the role of women in society.

She was selected as the fourth artist to complete the Tate Britain Winter Commission in 2020

She said: “I just can’t believe I’m going back to Blackpool after 40 years to see the lights again and I still can’t believe I’ll be exhibiting there. I’m lost for words!

“It’s gonna be a magical trip. I’ll make an astonishing dynamic piece.”

Paulette Brien, Curator at the Grundy said: “We are really looking forward to working with Chila this year. Her work is thoughtful yet playful, complex yet accessible and is characterised by a vibrancy that we know will excite and engage our audiences. “

The new light installations created through this programme will be revealed during the Blackpool Illuminations season which runs from 3 September 2021 to 3 January 2022 and Lightpool Festival which runs from 15-30 October 2021.