AS sapphire skies descended upon the tranquil Gortin Lakes, hundreds of people from across Tyrone and beyond gathered together at the picturesque location recently to create a large-scale artwork to celebrate nature and creativity – and what a unique spectacle it was!
Titled ‘Green Space Dark Skies’, the event saw the enthusiastic participants – or ‘Lumenators’, which was their official, Harry Potter-esque name for the evening – carry a low-impact geolight around the shorelines of the lakes to perform a choreographed dance in recognition of the wonder and natural beauty that exists, and everyone’s right to explore it.
Some Lumenators even donned crowns of ivy, ferns, daisies, and flowers, on their heads and held sceptres of willow and wool to feel at one with the great outdoors as they danced; swooping their colourful geolights in circular motions and proudly lifting them up to the skies in tandem.
Guided by Enniskillen-based choreographer, Dylan Quinn, these dance patterns creatively highlighted some of the symbols and wildlife associated with the region: The fish that swim in the Owenkillew and Glenelly rivers; an oak leaf to represent the forests; the Green Space Dark Skies logo to represent the ten peaks across the Sperrin Mountain range; and the twinkling stars visible in the Sperrin night sky.
Canoeists from Erne Paddlers, Loughmacrory Canoe Club also joined in with the fun; adorning geolights in their canoes, which smiled up towards the skies as daylight dissipated into midnight colours.
The second event of its kind in the North, the imaginative adventure was filmed from start-to-finish by an expert crew, while an inquisitive drone zip-zapped back and forth capturing mesmerising photos and gathered videos from above.
Forests and foraging
Prior to the lakeside ventures, Lumenators were treated to forest and foraging activities at the Gortin Glen Forest Park from ‘The Wild Women of the Woods’, while ‘Earth Mamas’, a rural collective from the North West, delivered fabulous singing demonstrations.
Members of ‘OM Dark Skies Centre’ were also in attendance, and provided interesting information on the stunning dark skies environment.
A trio of talented string musicians further filled the air with beautiful music at the lakes, prior to the dance, as Lumenators explored the location – which was kept secret right up until the event itself to protect the landscape.
Lumenators at the gatherings have been encouraged to share their own connections to the landscape and the local areas through ‘Green Space Stories’, a free online story archive, that, with the short films, will form a valuable legacy for anyone interested in our relationship with land and our responsibilities to take care of our landscapes.
Gorgeous Gortin film
The film of ‘Green Space Dark Skies’ at the Gortin Lakes will be available to view for free on the Green Space Dark Skies website very soon.
It will feature a wonderful soundtrack called ‘Still-ness’, composed by Derry-based electronic artist, Ryan Vail.
The film will also showcase local wild swimmers, ‘Gortin Dippers’, and energy-filled parkour by Omagh-based dance school, ‘Urban Motion’.
Green Space Dark Skies features events in all four nations of the UK. The next Green Space Dark Sky events in the North will take place at the Causeway Coast on July 2, and Slieve Donard, on September 24.
‘Green Space Dark Skies’ was developed by outdoor art experts, ‘Walk the Plank’, and is part of the ‘UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK’ initiative, which runs from April to September 2022.
If you would like to take part in Green Space Dark Skies register at https://greenspacedarkskies.uk/ events/
Photography by Brian Morrison
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