The world’s coming to Leeds for breathtaking arts spectacular: Gaia at University of Bristol, UK, 2019

04 Oct 2021

The world’s coming to Leeds for breathtaking arts spectacular

Light Night Arts Climate change

The whole world will be lit up in Leeds next month when Light Night brings a stunning illuminated recreation of planet Earth to the city.

Gaia, created by artist Luke Jerram, has captivated audiences across the world and will be one of the most compelling visual pieces at this year’s spectacular cultural showcase on October 14 and 15.

Measuring seven metres in diameter and using detailed, high tech NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface, the spellbinding artwork will give visitors to Queen Square the chance to appreciate the beauty of our planet floating in three dimensions.

The artwork is 1.8 million times smaller than Earth, with each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture describing 18km of the Earth’s surface.

The installation aims to capture some of the emotions described by astronauts, which include feelings of awe for the planet, an understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

This year will mark a welcome return to Leeds for Luke, who also brought his incredible lunar piece Museum of the Moon to Light Night in 2017.

He said: “It’s great to have my work in Light Night Leeds. When the Museum of the Moon was in Leeds, it was the first time the artwork was presented above water and it felt like a baptism of fire.

“My rigging team have learnt so much since then, about the best ways to install and present these large artworks outdoors in the crazy UK weather.

“I hope visitors to Gaia get to see the Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful and precious place. An ecosystem we urgently need to look after – our only home.”

Gaia will be part of Light Night’s Arena Zone, one of 40 installations and artworks at this year’s event spread across ten different zones, many supported by local businesses.

With the theme of Back to Nature, this year’s event will explore the natural world and the environment, with artworks reflecting the animal kingdom, the diversity of trees and plants and the power of the weather.

Visitors will also be encouraged to think about how we can all play a part in fighting climate change and helping the planet’s precious and fragile ecosystems.

In previous years, Light Night has attracted up to 80,000 visitors to the city centre across two nights, generating millions of pounds for the local economy and supporting city centre retail, leisure, and hospitality venues as well as local emerging artists. The 2021 programme has been modified to allow for additional safety measures.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “Light Night really is a one-of-a-kind event symbolising everything that makes culture in Leeds so completely unique and special.

“It’s inspiring to know that this year’s installations will be carrying such a powerful message, encouraging all of us to consider our impact on the planet and what we can each do to make Leeds a cleaner and greener place.”

Light Night Leeds takes place on October 14 and 15 from 6.30pm until 10.30pm. More details of the programme can be seen at:


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team