Candle Project by Abigail Conway – Brighton Festival

Alex Klineberg May 8, 2021

The Spire premieres a new commission by installation artist Abigail Conway for the Brighton Festival. The Candle Project will be the first event in the venue’s public programme, following a period of closure as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

“The Candle Project is a timely ritual, a welcome, transformative ode to resilience, a light held up to the dark and an intimate celebration of shadow and light. Abigail Conway invites participants to make a tapered, beeswax candle, cast their own words inside, then place it amongst a larger candle installation. As candles slowly burn, remnant messages left behind become glimmering beacons of hope, whispers, for others to discover and take home. ”

“In a transient world which offers little space for deep listening, The Candle Project reclaims and recreates sacred ground, providing an analogue space for contemplation, connectivity and regeneration. Built over the course of a week from May 24, the public will be able to experience this installation via a celebratory lighting ceremony, livestreamed on the evening of Saturday May 29., This event will mark a communal burn, after a time of transition for many – a transition perhaps unarticulated.”


Brighton & Hove based choirs will be contributing to the soundscape. This will be a fitting and quite symbolic project following the lockdowns. Abigail’s work has been shown at ICA, Southbank Centre, Barbican, Battersea Arts Centre, National Theatre, Forest Fringe, Wellcome Collection, Attenborough Centre for Contemporary Arts, Wales Millennium Centre, Latitude and Summerhall, Edinburgh. Overseas, her work has toured Europe, China, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Canada and the USA

“At a time of division, The Candle Project, offers spiritual exchanges for secular and non-secular communities.  It  represents mankind’s fragility and mortality in action, and how ultimately, connecting with others helps us to carry on. When all is said and done, what words would we write to one another…”

“We are longtime fans of Abigail Conway’s work, she transformed our space in 2018 with An Evening With Primrose as part of Brighton Digital Festival. We’re thrilled Abigail will be returning with The Candle Project for Brighton Festival and we hope that local communities take us up on the offer of taking a moment to consider the last year and communicate their hopes for the future in this beautiful mediative work.” David Sheppeard, Co- Artistic Director of The Spire


“Abigail Conway makes encounters. The shapes and conventions of her work are not borrowed from theatre or visual art, they are instead borrowed from ceremonies, rituals, workshops and other less codified ways of meeting; games of make-believe, a night spent dancing with a stranger, or holding hands in the cinema, or riding pillion on the back of a motorbike” Andy Field, writer and performer, co-director Forest Fringe. 

Installation : 

Monday 24 to Friday 28 May, 12pm–6pm Monday & Tuesday, 12pm–8pm Wednesday to Friday. Audiences can drop in during these times to view the installation process and deposit messages for the candles. 

Participation in the installation is free but must be pre-booked via

Lighting Ceremony Livestream Sat 29 May, 8pm