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Temple Burns

Date uploaded: March 20, 2015

The burning of a 70-foot carved wooden tower called 'Temple' by artist David Best has taken place in Londonderry, the culmination of a collaborative project with outdoor arts company Artichoke. The intricate wooden sculpture was funded through a Kickstarter public donation campaign and more than 15,000 people attended the final event, as the artwork was set alight in the Waterside area.

Temple was built by the people of Derry themselves. Working with partners including the Nerve Centre and the Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership, the project facilitated opportunities for people to learn new skills through apprenticeships, a back-to-work scheme and voluntary training opportunities.

Young people were trained to use Computer Aided Design (CAD) at the Nerve Centre’s Fablab in Derry to cut the temple’s intricate panels. Further training in local schools also took place with students as part of their ICT classes, and a team of unemployed carpenters worked on the construction of the temple.  There were also opportunities for volunteers to get involved with the build, or protect the structure during it's opening phase as a Temple Guardian.

More than 60,000 people visited the structure in the week before it was set alight, leaving hundreds of personal messages of love and loss inside the temple.

Produced by Artichoke, the project was the work of US artist David Best, and his aim was to offer an alternative perspective on bonfires. The artist described the space as giving "the people of Derry a neutral, cross-community space where they celebrated and reflected on their losses together".

To find out more about this project click here.


'Temple' David Best, 2015.  Produced by Artichoke in Derry~Londonderry.  Image by Matthew Andrews.

'Temple' David Best, 2015. Produced by Artichoke in Derry~Londonderry. Image by Matthew Andrews.