Mars: War & Peace follows on from Luke’s other astronomical artworks Museum of the Moon and Gaia.

Mars was named by the ancient Romans for their god of war because its reddish colour was reminiscent of blood. Accompanying the Mars sculpture is a newly created sound composition by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones. Featuring the sounds of seas, deserts and clips from NASA missions to Mars, it also incorporates the sounds of distant bombing and people marching, as if to war.

“Presented with a new soundtrack in the context of a church or cathedral, a space to encourage peaceful contemplation, Mars: War & Peace provides an opportunity for the public to consider the history of human conflict around the world. I hope that visitors will feel transported to the inhospitable desert wasteland of Mars, whilst also reflecting on the realities of war for ordinary communities of people on our planet.” Luke Jerram

The installation is a fusion of Mars imagery, light and surround sound composition. Each venue also programmes their own series of events to contemplate not just the beauty of the red planet and wonder of space science, but also to highlight injustice and the effects of war.

Mars: War & Peace was first presented at Kensington & Chelsea Festival from 22 July – 12 August 2023. They hosted a programme of live music events, including an evening concert in collaboration with the Ukrainian Cultural Centre. This concert was dedicated to Ukraine with original music of the Ukrainian/British composer and pianist Alla Sirenko together with Ukrainian songs and popular operatic arias with the Lithuanian Soprano Vaiva Datenyte.

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