Finnish light artist Kari Kola's artwork has transformed the Connemara mountains in Ireland with a stunning display of colour and light. In light of COVID-19 restrictions, it has been released as a special digital edition that people can enjoy online.

The Savage Beauty light installation in the Connemara Hills

Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture is presenting Savage Beauty as an online art experience, because it was initially planned as a three-day public event. This was cancelled in light of the restrictions in place in response to the coronavirus. The installation gets its name from Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, who described Connemara as “a savage beauty.”

The Savage Beauty light installation in the Connemara Hills

Kari Kola has directed over 2000 projects in dramatic settings, including Stonehenge (2018) and the opening ceremony of the Year of Light at the Unesco headquarters in Paris (2015). His installation of 1000 lights is spread over a distance of 5km in Connemara, transforming the mountains in a wash of vibrant pulsating colours.

Kola says that everything on the planet is based on light, and he is working with scientific projects and new, futuristic techniques. He and his team worked day and night for a fortnight in some of the most challenging weather conditions to create Savage Beauty. “Since I can’t paint, I paint with light," he says. "I’m also interested in light beyond its artistic value. With abstract light, there are as many stories as there are viewers. If I can choose, I always work with nature because that’s the best art that we have."

The Savage Beauty light installation in the Connemara Hills
Kari Kola and his team worked for a fortnight on the installation © Christopher Lund

Kola says that while he is very disappointed that the public exhibition of this work had to be cancelled, he hopes that this digital edition will show how he played with scale in Connemara and created something that people would not expect.

The Savage Beauty light installation in the Connemara Hills
The installation is part of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture © Christopher Lund

Further information on Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture can be found here.

Keep up to date with Lonely Planet's latest travel-related COVID-19 news here.

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