Discover the highlights of the Totally Thames festival, which takes place along London’s River Thames throughout September
Words by Sophie Tolhurst
The river Thames has always been a key part of London’s history, the heart of trade as the city grew, although it’s now more often a desirable location for riverfront hospitality spaces, offices and homes. Ensuring the space is used for accessible, sustainable and inspiring cultural events for those in the city to enjoy, the Thames Festival was set up in 1997, changing its name to Totally Thames in 2014. One highlight for 2019 is The Ship of Tolerance by celebrated Russian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. First seen in Egypt in 2005, the exhibit has been travelling the world: previous locations including Venice, Havana and New York. The 60ft boat sculpture with a 40ft mast will float in the Thames by the Millennium Bridge, with sails made over the summer by 1,000 children drawn from primary schools, hospitals, cultural organisations and refugee groups. Its aim is to connect children of various cultures and identities, promoting ideas of tolerance and enabling dialogue between them through ‘the universal language of art’.
The Barking Stink looks at the riverside’s past of noxious fumes from factories, sewage and fisheries
Foragers of the Foreshore explores what you can find in the Thames mud
Other highlights among the month-long programme of free events are the exhibitions Foragers of the Foreshore – an enlightening exploration of ‘mudlarking’ (the act of discovering historical objects in the Thames mud) – and the The Barking Stink, exploring that district’s riverside past of noxious fumes from factories, sewage and fisheries.