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Out & About: Light Inspiration


With galleries shut during lockdown, a trip to see this year’s winter commission at Tate Britain gave me my weekend gallery fix.

‘Remembering a Brave New World’ is a light installation created by British Asian artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman and it was unveiled during Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light. It is so uplifting with beautiful messages in bright lights, which are so welcome at this testing time.

© Tabish Khan

The Gallery, once the site of a former prison in 1892, is now home to the greatest collection of British art in the world. I smile at the thought that the original architect, Sidney R.J. Smith, would have never imagined such a colourful and flamboyant installation to adorn the grand porticoed entranceway and central dome resembling a temple.

I hope you will be able to enjoy the playful neon lights at Ham Yard Hotel when we reopen next Wednesday. You will feel at home in the Dive Bar with a neon diver scoring her perfect 10 from the balcony.

In 2014, we were lucky enough to visit God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow and meet the late Chris Bracey, affectionately known as the ‘Neon Man’. He started by making signs for Soho’s strip clubs and brothels and his artistry was spotted by directors and designers.

I’m mad about our ‘Freak Show’ and ‘Love Me Tender Wedding Chapel’ signs in the Dive Bar.

The entrance of ‘The Croc’ bowling alley is also lit up in neon lights.

In search for something a little less vibrant, here are Martha Freud’s porcelain pots giving off a warm glow in their niches in the restaurant at Ham Yard and the orangery at The Whitby Hotel, New York.

Wishing you light and love during this last week of lockdown.

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