AN AMAZING 10 metre 'Floating Earth' was unveiled at Pennington Flash last night (November 18) - with the sculpture making its debut right here in Leigh.

Luke Jerram, an internationally acclaimed artist from Stroud, has displayed more than 600 exhibitions in 44 countries and is recognised globally for his innovative and large-scale public designs.

With a focus on the planet, our interconnectedness, and the ecological issues we all face, Pennington Flash was chosen as the perfect place to display his largest, and most ambitious project to date over the next 10 days.

'Floating Earth' is a 10 metre diameter replica of planet Earth, projected with high-resolution imagery taken directly from NASA, along with passionate climate speeches and surreal tones reverberating from speakers to create a unique, entrancing experience.

The sculpture gives visitors the opportunity to view the Earth in its entirety and aims to evoke the 'overview effect'; a common experience of astronauts that understands the beauty of the planet, our interconnectedness and the responsibility to take care of the environment.

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The stunning artwork at Pennington Flash - Pic Dave Gillespie

Speaking to the Journal, Jerram said: "Primarily the artwork is to bring people together but also to help people ask difficult questions about what they need to do to change their lifestyles and society to make the planet more sustainable.

"I hope this artwork makes people appreciate their planet. It is incredibly beautiful so I hope people realise just how beautiful it is and we only have one so we have got to look after it - we are all in this together."

Commissioned by Wigan Council and Quays Culture, the brand-new work will float proudly at the Flash until November 28, where it will then head to the Manchester Ship Canal in Salford for more people across the region to enjoy.

20,000 people have been booked their tickets to see the floating planet during its time in Leigh and although the attraction is now sold out, it is available to view for free and without booking between 9am - 4pm.

The project comes as part of 'Light Night Wigan and Leigh' - a 100 day programme of work which celebrates watercourses across the borough. In addition to Jerram's work, there will be a two-day light trail along the canal, towpath and locks at Wigan Pier, which continues the environmental theme and encourages audiences to consider ecological issues whilst enjoying the artworks, nature and waterways.


Speaking at the 'Floating Earth' unveiling last night, Mayor of Wigan and Leigh Yvonne Klieve said: "It's absolutely amazing for the structure to come to here, and within just a few hours of tickets going on sale, 20,000 tickets have been sold for the ten days.

"That shows that people are so excited, so looking forward to this, and I think we are so lucky to have this here as part of our Light Night Wigan and Leigh".

Those who were lucky enough to be invited to the unveiling were visibly in awe of the magnificent scale of the structure, with one resident telling me it's "absolutely fabulous that the borough have this here".

Another said: "It's absolutely amazing. I didn't know what to expect, but it's so great it's come to Leigh."

Mark, a resident from Leigh who was at the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow, said: "It's a really good way to represent the current issues of the day in a way that is relatable to most people."

Leigh Journal:

Luke Jerram beside his stunning artwork - Pic: Dave Gillespie

Thankful for the commission and reception of his artwork, Jerram said: "To unveil this project on a windy evening in the North of England in November takes courage, so I'm very grateful to the council for commissioning this artwork."

Bringing in a laugh from the crowd on a cold November evening, Councillor Chris Ready, portfolio holder for culture at Wigan Council, added: "We've always said we would bring the World to Leigh, and we've done just that tonight."

Leigh Journal:

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