The UK’s largest digital light festival returned to Salford Quays on Friday, aiming to bring some love to the North West this winter.

Lightwaves 2016, curated by local culture organisation Quays Culture, is open to the public from the 9 – 18 December, with nine artworks situated all around the Quays.

2016 is the fourth successive year of Lightwaves, after huge success, in terms of visitor numbers, in previous years.

This year is expected to be no different, with over 350,000 people set to view the work, and the organisers hope the festival will give the public the chance to enjoy something a little different.

Lucy Dusgate, creative producer of Quays Culture, said of the festival: “Nobody’s going to feel like they don’t get the artwork, it’s very much there to inspire and also excite people.

A Dalek at Lightwaves Festival
The Daleks from Dr Who make an appearance at the festival (Photo: Joel Chester Fildes)

“This is very accessible and popularist, but has very good world class artists exhibiting here.”

There’s also a feel good factor behind the work, with a sense of love and diversity the basis for the festival.

Ms Dusgate added: “All of the works have been selected around the idea of sharing a bit more love out there, being more compassionate and sharing what we have in common, rather than what divides us.”

Graham Rollins, one of the duo behind Heart Beat, an original commissioned piece for the festival, said: “We want people to take positive emotions away with them after visiting the heart.

Heart Beat at Lightwaves Festival
Heart Beat is an original commission for Lightwaves (Photo: Joel Chester Fildes)

“We wanted friends, family and partners to remember why they are special to each other.

“Ultimately we want people to smile and enjoy the work together.”

Another piece on display is Voyage, where 198 luminescent origami boats sit in the dock, the public able to change their colours using their mobile phones.

Gloria Ronchi, part of Aether & Hemera, the studio behind the piece, said: “Our aim is to encourage playfulness and wonder… to allow viewers to travel and sail with absolute freedom to all the places they care to imagine.

“It was very rewarding to see the impact on people, to see people from all ages stop with wonder and amazement.”

By Russell Edge

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