Contemporary LED sculpture marks women’s suffrage fight
A new light sculpture in Parliament has been created to mark an important anniversary in British politics
Ultra LEDs are delighted to have been involved in a project which celebrates 150 years since the campaign for women’s votes began and features in one of Britain’s most iconic and historic buildings.
“New Dawn” is a contemporary light sculpture by artist Mary Branson celebrating women’s suffrage and is on display at the entrance to St Stephen’s Hall at the nation’s home of parliament – the Houses of Parliament.
The stunning piece consists of 168 circles of hand-blown glass inspired by the scrolls, mounted in a 13 foot-by-20 foot ellipse and uses thousands of LED bulbs. The contemporary light sculpture is a permanent addition to the Parliamentary Art Collection, as well as the first piece of abstract art commissioned for display in this most historic of locations.
It is also a fitting tribute to the thousands of campaigners who paved the way for universal suffrage, and has been unveiled 150 years after the philosopher and MP John Stuart Mill presented the first mass petition calling for women’s votes in the House of Commons – though it would take another 60 years before the goal was achieved.
Located above the entrance to St Stephen’s Hall, the site of numerous demonstrations, “New Dawn” will stand in the very place where many women and men came to Parliament to campaign for women to be given the right to vote.
We were asked to supply mini aluminium channel for this stunning project, not to mention our premium 1320 lumens 12v 14.4w warm white LED tape which lights up this magnificent artwork and are thrilled to see the finished piece in all of its glory.
An intricate piece, the rainbow of colours change over a twelve-and-a-half-hour cycle, and is linked to the tide of the Thames. The ebb and flow of the illumination in turn reflects the rising tide of change.
“After two years of work it’s a wonderful feeling to stand in Westminster Hall and see New Dawn lit up at last,” Mary Branson told the Huffington Post. “I’m truly honoured and humbled by all the support I have received from my team and the encouragement of so many people in this celebration of women’s votes.
“I hope people will enjoy the artwork visually for what it is, then ask more questions about the movement,” she said.
Speaking about “New Dawn” John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “On the 150th anniversary of John Stuart Mill’s petition calling for the universal right to vote, New Dawn is a fitting tribute to the champions for liberty of the past, as well as an inspiration for future generations.”
Visiting ‘New Dawn’
Entry to see ‘New Dawn’ is free but tickets are required. The artwork can be viewed on the following dates:
Tickets can be booked online, or by calling +44 (0)20 7219 4114 or in person from the Ticket Office at the front of Portcullis House on Victoria Embankment.
Words: Matthew Crist | Images: Mat Clark, Mary Branson