Jerusalem Illuminated in Magical Light Festival (with VIDEO)

By Maya Margit | The Media Line

July 3, 2018

'Affinity,' a light sculpture from Australia at the Jerusalem Light Festival. (Credit: Simone Chua)

Light artists from Israel and around the world take part in the 10th annual of the popular event

Jerusalem was illuminated in a magical display of colors for the 10th annual Jerusalem Light Festival show. Over the past decade, the popular event has drawn 10 million Israeli and international visitors, generating millions of dollars in tourism revenue for businesses around the city. This year’s eight-day long event features 40 large-scale light installations in the Old City’s Jewish, Armenian, Christian and Muslim Quarters.

“This year we focused on bringing more immersive light art that you can touch and the audience can also have some kind of interaction with,” Gaston Zahr, the artistic director for the festival, told The Media Line.

Sponsored by the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry as well as the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Jerusalem Municipality, the festival is one of the biggest of its kind in the world.

Visitors can tour Jerusalem’s ancient walls to catch a glimpse of dramatic light shows and performances, including a giant traditional lantern from the Philippines which is manually operated.

“The lantern is operated by seven people standing in the back,” Arvin Quiwa, a light artist from the Philippines, explained to The Media Line. “It is not computerized because we follow the traditional way of lantern making.”

Most of the light installations were created by a team of designers, technicians and artists. Many are interactive. “Affinity,” a sculpture composed of illuminated spheres connected by pipes, responds to the human touch.

“It’s inspired by the connectivity in the human brain,” Simone Chua, an artist from Australia, told The Media Line. “It looks like a network of neurons connecting together. The original concept was to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”

As crowds wove in and out of the brilliant displays along the cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City, it was clear the festival had reached its goal: bringing people together for an enlightening and unforgettable experience.

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