Participatory Installation

Wish Comet

Jana Matejkova (Czech Republic)


Special thanks to the community of HMP Low Newton, Durham City Arts, NEPACS, New Bridge and HM Prison Service.

Sound installation by Andrew Dickens.

With special thanks to Durham County Council’s Prison Library Service.

A beam of light made up of neon wristbands illuminating the hopes and dreams of women of HMP Low Newton and their children. 

Jana Matejkova worked with the women of HMP Low Newton and their children over several months, and in the tradition of wishing on a star, she displayed their wishes and dreams in this artwork, Wish Comet.

The installation was made from the everyday identification wristbands that you might see at festivals or nightclubs. 5,000 of these fluorescently coloured wristbands, bearing the wishes of the women and their children, reacted with UV light to become a powerful illuminated artwork. Sound recordings of the children’s voices and the women’s own hopes spoken by Charlie Darby-Villis (Development worker at HMP/YOI Low Newton) were used as a base for a composition, which, in the end, simulated the sounds of space.

As well as Wish Comet, which could be seen in an open public space in Durham, Jana worked with the women of Low Newton Prison and their children to create Wish Planet, an associated artwork on display inside the prison.

Jana Matejkova was born in 1979 in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. She studied a Masters in Sculpture in 2004 in Brno, Czech Republic, and has also studied at Düsseldorf Kuenstakademie and Akademie den Bildenden Kuenste in Munich and was a recipient of a DAAD Scholarship. She has lived and worked in Edinburgh since 2007. A sculptor and performer, Jana works with space, light and sound. She experiments with light and shade and creates artificial landscapes, usually as site-specific installations.


Stay in touch with all things Lumiere