The Gravesham Light Festival: A Delightful Show of Light in a Dark January

Ross Ashton & Karen Monid Projection on St Andrews Arts Centre | Gravesham Light Festival

The wonderful Gravesham Light Festival returns this week thanks to additional funding from Arts Council England. We really enjoyed our visit last year so read on discover what to expect, where to eat, a famous album cover and the true story of a Disney princess.

What to Expect from Gravesham 2023: Voyage of Light

The festival will take place on Friday 27 January and Saturday 28 January, between 5.30pm and 8.30pm in the historic town of Gravesend. The whole town will be lit up with light installations, exhibitions and experiences taking place at a range of locations including St George’s Arts Centre, Town Pier Square, St George’s Church Gardens, St Andrew’s Arts Centre, St Andrew’s Gardens and Gravesend Borough Market.

The Gravesham Light Festival 2022: What We Saw

The High Street: Greg Stobbs The Dream Mirror installation

Marie's Tea Room, High Street, Gravesend | Gravesham Light Festival

We started off at Marie's Tea Room and explored the High Street area. The illumination in the window depicts Pocahontas, the subject of the Disney film. The true story of Pocahontas is quite incredible and many aspects of the film are disputed. What we do know is that Pocahontas' encounters with English settlers proved disastrous and she fell gravely ill after being brought to England. She died in Gravesend in 1617 at the age of about 21 and was buried at St George's Church.

Gregg Stobb's The Dream Mirror | Gravesham Light Festival

The High Street was home to Greg Stobbs's The Dream Mirror installation, a series of illustrated window light works.

Gregg Stobb's The Dream Mirror at Northman Cafe | Gravesham Light Festival

Greg found his inspiration in Gravesend itself, saying that "walking through Gravesend's Heritage Quarter in the dark is a magical experience".

Duncan Grant's That's Entertainment installation

Duncan Grant's That's Entertainment | Gravesham Light Festival

This telephone box is very famous! It featured on the cover of The Jam album Sound Effects which released in 1980. Artist Duncan Grant took inspiration from this and dressed up the telephone box in a series of images that paid homage to both Sound Effects and Giles Gilbert Scott who designed the original phone boxes. Duncan's installation was called That's Entertainment.

Swan Yard | Gravesham Light Festival

Swan Yard. All of Gravesend's nooks, crannies and alleyways were lit up for the festival.

St Andrew's Art Centre

Ross Ashton & Karen Monid Projection on St Andrews Arts Centre | Gravesham Light Festival

We spent ages at the St Andrew's Art Centre installation, watching as the full projection played out. The work was a collaboration between The Projection Studio's Ross Ashton, a double Guinness World Record holder, and sound artist Karen Monid.

St George's Church Gardens

Pocahontas statue | Gravesham Light Festival

We cut through the grounds of St George's Church and I saw the statue of Pocahontas for the first time. The statue was erected in 1975 and enjoys Grade II listed status. It was relisted in 2017 to mark the 400th anniversary of her death.

Richie Moment's Love Conquers All installation

Love Conquers All by Richie Moment | Gravesham Light Festival

Our penultimate stop on the Light Festival trail was to see Richie Moment's Love Conquers All installation with its collection of cherubs and uplifting messages of love.

Strange Cargo's The Owl and the Pussycat installation

The Owl and the Pussycat installation | Gravesham Light Festival

Edward Lear's grandfather, Jeremiah Lear, lived in Gravesend and Edward spent many happy times there. Strange Cargo created these beautiful sculptural lanterns based on Lear's famous poem, The Owl and the Pussycat.

Dinner at Rico Sabor

Rico Sabor | Gravesham Light Festival

We'd certainly worked up an appetite during our exploration and headed off to my favourite restaurant in Gravesend, Rico Sabor. Situated in the Grade II listed former courthouse, you can enjoy dinner in one of the old jail cells if you wish! The menu is a mix of Latin American cuisine and Spanish tapas.

Can you believe that the first month of 2023 is almost over? I always say I want time to slow down but that's not happening any time soon. Life is really busy too - I know I worked so hard to qualify to be exactly where I am with my career but that doesn't make year end reporting any easier. How is your 2023 going?

2023 brings a new theme to Emm in London. I needed to update it for various reasons but I have a lot of work still to do before I'm happy with this theme. Sadly, all Intense Debate comments have disappeared from the site but I still have them all saved down.

2 comments on "The Gravesham Light Festival: A Delightful Show of Light in a Dark January"
  1. It looks like you had a fabulous day out :-)

    Happy New Year to you, I can't believe that January has flashed by so quickly.

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  2. I don't remember the Pocahontas story or film, but I do like the front of the tea room. Now I will have to find a proper history, not Disney.

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