“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime” Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary, August 1914
National Library of Wales Cymru 1914 archive
Everyone in the UK is invited to take part in LIGHTS OUT by turning off their lights from 10pm to 11pm on 4 August, leaving on a single light or candle to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War .
Millions of people are expected to participate and hundreds of local authorities, iconic buildings, national organisations including the BBC and the Royal British Legion, parish councils and places of worship have already pledged their support. Iconic landmarks such Blackpool Illuminations, the Houses of Parliament, Eden Project, Imperial War Museums and Tower Bridge will turn off their lights; the Royal British Legion has launched a campaign for at least one million candles to be lit across the UK and theatre productions including those of the National Theatre’s War Horse, both nationally and internationally, will invite their audiences to take part in LIGHTS OUT after their curtain calls.
Leading international artists have been commissioned by 14-18 NOW to create special public artworks, for one night only in the form of a light source.
Bedwyr Williams’ work Traw will be a large-scale video and sound installation at the site of the North Wales Memorial Arch, Bangor. The memorial takes centre stage in front of images projected onto the enormous facing wall of Bangor University’s new Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre.
Taking photographs found in the Cymru 1914 archive, Williams has created a sequence of images of local soldiers and civilians affected by WW1. Excluding all uniform and references to rank, the close up faces reveal something of the individual’s personality and personal sacrifice in a war where death was measured in millions.
Bedwyr Williams is one of Wales’ leading visual artists. In 2013 he represented Wales at the Venice Biennale.
Commenting on the project Bedwyr Williams said: “As a young art student I walked past the memorial arch in Bangor many times and I have to admit that I never gave it a huge amount of thought. Working on this project I’ll never be able to walk past this place again without thinking of the lives lost fighting in the First World War.”