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As the Cultural Capital prepares to mount Europe‘s biggest-ever lantern procession. Welfare State director John Fox tells Andrew Burnet how he got Glasgow 1 glowing from the inside. .

Next Saturday. before the nights begin to draw in

i getting around everywhere has stretched us very on Glasgow‘s year ofglory. yet another unique I


But Fox has a well charted commitment to involving as much of the community as possible (‘one ofmy beliefs is that fine art is very ghetto-ised and becomes an elitist activity.‘ he says). and was determined to establish ‘a symbolic community with strands throughout Strathclyde.‘ The catchment area for this project stretches from Arran to Lanark. taking in many of Glasgow‘s least elite zones. such as Govan. Drumchapel and Possil. ‘We did feel.‘ says Fox. ‘that it was one way of taking some of the resources and putting them into areas which wouldn't otherwise get much from the City of Culture.‘

; When first approached by the Festivals Unit

i (who had witnessed one of the lantern processions Welfare State mounts each year in Cumbria). Fox was daunted by the prospect. but Glasgow‘s warmth and enthusiasm quickly overcame his reservations. But the work has

festival will illuminate its darkened streets. The Glasgow Lantern Project is a huge procession involving well over 5000 lanterns (ranging from hand-held lights to sixteen-foot luminous sculptures) made by some 7—8000 Glaswegians of all ages. under the guidance of Welfare State International. a (‘umbria-based team who describe themselves as ‘Engineers of , lmagination.‘ .

Welfare State‘s founder and artistic director John Fox has been working on the Lantern Project with groups all over Strathclyde fora year now. and it represents the most ambitious undertaking in Welfare State’s 22-year life. ‘It’s like organising a military operation.‘ says Fox of the project’s massive logisitic demands. ‘lt's like parachuting into Arnhem with 10.000 withy lanterns on bamboos. I think sometimes I'm a cross between Artaud and Montgomery. It’s a very large region. and the sheer legwork of

proved unpredictable. ‘What‘s been interesting particularly.‘ he says. ‘is the style and imagerv i that‘s come out. because it's become more ' political and more cartoon-like: there‘s a lot of colour and a lot of that city vitality. The style of painting we‘ve used is a spray-gun style. which is akin to graffiti-painting. lguess.

‘l‘ve tried to keep it very open. so that what's emerged is a strong. radical Scottish mythology. and the imagery I think is very wonderful and ' quite anarchic. It varies from highland stags to political fables based on Scottish myths; or there‘s a woman lying on a sauna as a kind of housewife‘s dream. next to a very precise model ofGlasgow Cathedral. Sometimes the imagery is illustrative. and sometimes it‘s more dream-like. You can't use the same method in every place. because people have entirely different experiences. but we‘ve provided a framework so that the images will work together.’

The fruits ofthe Lantern Project will converge on George Square in the form of musical

; processions from the four corners of the city. and then proceed to Glasgow Green. where a treat is

in store for both participants and spectators. "I‘here‘ll be food stalls and bands and rising towers made from the lanterns produced by the community.‘ explains Fox. ‘And there“ be a final. wonderful surprise. a ballet using a mixture oftechology and images from the procession. and Glasgow‘s Coat of Arms. It’ll be very short. but sufficiently spectacular for people to feel they‘ve

; made a goodjourney. In a sense. the whole thing i is a kind ofcontemporary pilgrimage.‘

Spectators should arrive at George Square l)_\' 7pm to see the four processions congregate there at around 7. 3 ()pm. After a briefappearance by St

M ungo and some city dignitaries. the massed : procession will proceed to Glasgoii' Green.

arriving at around 9pm. Free food and li t'e music

. will be supplied there. and the party is expected to

continue until after midnight. For further details. call Welfare State International on (041 ) 425 133 l.


Cardiganned crusaider

World-renowned knitting and needlework designer Katfe Fassett gives a lecture at Glasgow's Moir Hall on Monday 8, the third and final date on a benefit tour on behalf of Crusaid. the national AIDS and HIV funding body. In fouryears, Crusaid has enlisted the

various bodies, and supported a number of agencies operating similar funds. Support forthis event will be support for Scottish AIDS organisations

since all money raised in Scotland will also be spent here, so admirers oi Mr Fassett's work should not hestitate to buy tickets. See Talks & Workshops listings for details.

help of public figures as diverse as Sylvester Stallone, Glenys Kinnock, Gilbert and George and Bishop of Edinburgh Richard Holloway. It has raised £3 million, given 1500 grants to

listings for details.

Woodland walk

In June this year, it was announced by the United Nations that the rate of tropical deforestation had averaged 17 million hectares per year since 1981, around one-and-a-half times the figure ' named in previous estimates. The ' World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) is therefore

, calling for deforestation to be halved within five years, and net deforestation to stop by the year 2000. Lend your support on a sponsored walk in Edinburgh on Sunday 7. See Outdoors

76'I‘he List 28 Septernbct‘~ 11 October 1990