Arts Derbyshire


Lantern Sculpture Trail Shines A Light on City’s Dazzling Diversity

A trail of giant lantern sculptures has been installed at key cultural landmarks in Derby to shine a light on the city’s cultural diversity.

Local artist Frazer Johnston has been commissioned to create the lantern sculptures by Surtal Arts, the long-established Derby organisation rooted in traditional South Asian arts, as part of the Derby Season of Light festival of activities, events and performances which have been taking place between September and December.

Made with biodegradable materials including willow and tissue paper, the unique 3D lantern sculptures have been inspired by the place where they are featured – capturing and reflecting the distinctive characteristics of that space.

The lantern sculptures will be in place until end of December.  Some can be seen from outside the buildings and others are inside the venues so visitors are advised to check details of venue opening times, book tours if they wish and download a free map of the trail online at

Visitors are also invited to scan a QR code at each sculpture to learn more about the venue and the inspiration that the artist has taken in the design.

The venues which are hosting and have inspired the design of the lantern sculptures are:

  • Museum of Making in Cathedral Green and Derby Museum and Art Gallery in The Strand where the sculptures are inspired by the connection of this historical building as well as the vibrant colours of silk Indian sarees.
  • Déda in Chapel Street where the lantern entitled ‘Dance like no one is watching’ has been inspired by the giant mural painting on the building.
  • Derby Cathedral where the calm and serene tranquility of the space has inspired the sculpture entitled ‘Angel of Love’.
  • Jamia Mosque in Rose Hill Street where the artist has taken inspiration from Moroccan lanterns, geometrical shapes and Arabic script to create a stunning piece entitled ‘Light upon Light’.
  • The Geeta Bhawan Hindu Temple in Pear Tree Road where the sculpture ‘Diya (Light)’ showcases the special significance of light in Hindu festivals and scriptures.
  • The Ramgarhia Sikh Temple in St Thomas Road where the symbol or emblem of Sikhism known as the Khanda – or double-edged sword – is the inspiration and title of the lantern sculpture.

Nisha Nath, a celebrated South Asian dancer and chair of Surtal Arts, said: “Derby Season of Light has coincided with Diwali, Bonfire Night, Hanukkah, Christmas and the preparations for Chinese New Year which all share the common theme of light.

“The Lantern Sculpture Trail is the climax of this year’s very successful festival and we hope that people across the city will join this free activity that shines a line on Derby’s dazzling diversity and celebrates the work of a fantastic local artist.

“The arts trail is designed to connect the city centre with Normanton, the cultural hub of Derby.  It encourages people to visit new areas, learn more about diverse places and communities that are colourful and full of surprises and to celebrate that this is what makes Derby a city of dazzlingly diversity and beauty.

“All the venues are easily accessible but I do recommend checking on our website first for opening hours and any special arrangements that need to be made to book a tour of the individual buildings.”

She continued: “Derby Season of Light has seen hundreds of people of all ages and from different cultures coming together to make and proudly hold aloft lanterns in the Derby Lantern Parade.

“We have also held two vibrant Bollywood flashmobs, concerts and an extensive workshop and storytelling workshop programme.

Derby Season of Light is spearheaded by Surtal Arts who have been working with a wide range of partners including Derby City Council, Derby LIVE, Derby Museums, University of Derby, Déda, Derby Theatre, Air Arts, Fleet Arts, Number Twenty Eight and Belper Town Council, with funding from Arts Council England thanks to National Lottery players.

To find out more about the remaining programme, please visit

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