Stunning elm tree projections light up Nine Elms

Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Nine Elms is lit up this month with beautiful projections of its namesake elm trees shining onto buildings around the area.

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Projections: Cllr Govindia joins artists Jony Easterby and Pippa Taylor in New Union Square

On Friday 13 December, internationally acclaimed artists Jony Easterby and Pippa Taylor switched on the lights at nine locations including housing blocks, commercial premises and construction sites. The newly commissioned artwork can be seen across Nine Elms and Vauxhall until 21 December 2019.

Running for nine nights, the large-scale installations use drawings of the real elm trees growing on Nine Elms Lane, SW8, to show the area in a new light and celebrate the long history of the area's trees.

Light Up Nine Elms comes to life after dark from 5pm to 9pm, is suitable for all ages and free of charge to visit. Find out more about the event on the Nine Elms website.

Rooted in the local community, these elm trees have been a landmark for generations. The Nine Elms place name has been traced back to the 17th century and nine elm trees were known to be standing on Nine Elms Lane in the 1840s. The row of elms are thought to have been replanted several times since then. In January 2019, the Nine Elms community re-planted the last two elm trees which had been missing since one tree was blown down in a storm and one was felled due to disease.

Wandsworth Council leader Cllr Ravi Govindia said: "This celebration of our nine elm trees is a wonderful way of drawing together communities through a shared local history. After helping to plant the two missing elm trees last January, I’m delighted that these projections are brightening up the area this winter for everyone to enjoy.”

Artist Pippa Taylor, who hand-drew the nine elm trees said: “I love the fact that from the starting point of my drawing in the studio, through Jony’s digital animations and projections, I can share my joy in the detail and beauty of the tree with thousands of people.”

Artist Jony Easterby created the projections. He said: “The elms of Nine Elms are a testament to nature’s resilience and a symbol of hope that we can rebuild ecologies that face extinction through human knowledge and perseverance. The symbolism of these elm trees at this time in our ecological crisis has never been so important as we face new complex challenges to our arboricultural heritage and ecosystems. This project allows us to create new connections between hand-drawn and digital arts, the concrete and the organic, as well as highlighting the essential role that trees must play in all our lives for our survival on this planet which we share.”

The winter lights installation puts Nine Elms on the cultural map with a unique way to interact with nature and heritage in a busy urban riverside location. People can follow their own trail around the artworks to see the varied architecture of Nine Elms and get together with friends or family after work or after school to celebrate the winter season.

Lights trail: Installation until 21 December 2019