‘Glyndwr’s rebellion was precipitated by conflict with Reginald Grey, lord of Rhuthun. The two men had neighbouring lands, and dispute arose over a certain piece which Grey seized. When Glyndwr sought redress through Parliament, he was rebuffed. Parliaments response to warnings against such an attitude in the face of growing Welsh dissatisfaction was, ‘What care we for bare foot rascals?
Taken from: National Redeemer: Owain Glyndwr in Welsh Tradition By Elissa R. Henken
This week I took down an exhibition that I had curated and exhibited with at The Sho Gallery in Cardiff, on Womanby St. The exhibition took place within Wales’ first ever Independence festival ‘IndyFest’ and my work was created in direct response to thoughts on national identity in Wales.
The following words are my artist’s statement which accompanied my work:
“I find national identity quite difficult to give shape to as I agree with the notion that there are more differences within cultures than between them. I think there will always be conservative-minded people who want to connect national identity to only the culture of the establishment of the day and I think that this is doing a country a disservice. I found my secondary school to contain within it a clash between cultures that every now and then represented themselves (I think now incorrectly) as Welsh and English and that was quite interesting to be a part of.
I think Wales now has to define itself more than ever as a culturally and historically rich country because corporate homogenisation has been squeezing the individuality from wherever there is money to be made, but now the balance has tipped and progressive individuality is what will gain Wales financial confidence.
Created specifically for this exhibition, this work is an offshoot of a graphic novel I’ve been working on for some time called ‘Box-Son’, a story about an insanely damaged man raising two children; Gwenallt, and Box-son (a son kept locked in a box). ‘Box-son’ deals with various ways that we suspend our empathy for people.”
This exhibition was made possible thanks to a financial contribution by YesCymru. To find out more about their campaign for Welsh Independence, visit yes.cymru
A close relative recently underwent some kind of therapy treatment during which she was hypnotized and led to return to a childhood memory that could have potentially had traumatizing effects. This kind of therapy used some amount of fictional narrative to help the patient return to the memory, and also return to the emotional and mental state that they were dealing with at the time (including age).
This image was done with that in mind, and is probably quite specific to my interpretation and knowledge but I hope the small amount of backstory helps explain my visual summary of this experience.
Cardiff school of Art & Design have today done a quick write up of my recent contribution to the NTW project in Rhyl:
As the illustrator for this production I lived in Rhyl for a week, mostly illustrating the story of the project at National Theatre Wales’ shop at 66 High st. The stories and activities that fed into the final production on the weekend of 31st March – 2nd April 2017 came from months of National Theatre Wales and Mark Storor working with inspirational community groups in Rhyl.
My work was to illustrate the information and stories gathered during the week leading up to the show. The information came in the form of spoken stories and descriptions through Mark, songs and poetry in writing from residents of Rhyl, workshops (some of which i was able to attend) and from Mark and National Theatre Wales showing/explaining to me parts of the production and also some personally gathered history of Rhyl.
Working on Lifted by Beauty: Adventures in Dreaming was an emotional experience; I was learning a lot about the town’s history as a successful seaside tourist resort which carried a lot of happy memories for it’s residents, and also it’s history of being a comfortable destination for evacuees and the optimistic feel this gave to the town. But I was also steeped in the personal information (poetry writing and 2nd hand stories) of the individuals that are trying to build stronger communities in Rhyl which has a reputation as a rough, struggling town. On top of this I was meeting people throughout the week, hearing their responses to Rhyl being the setting and theme of this creative project. Their responses were often based in a kind of fear of optimism whilst also being very interested.
Having immersed myself in Rhyl so thoroughly meant that by the final performance (in part of which I illustrate the windows of a greenhouse in one of the car-park installations) Mark’s visuals and Brian Duffy’s music/sounds were both so haunting and at the same time optimistic that I felt I could have carried on investigating Rhyl for years.
Below are pictures of only my part (for others, see NAT website and twitter) in the production ‘Lifted by Beauty : Adventures in Dreaming’ a project that I am very grateful for having been able to work on.
Postcards/maps drawn by myself for NTW that were handed to attendants of show on arrival to Rhyl:
‘Nobody expected Jesus to rock up in Bargoed. He arrived one friday night dressed in a Wales shirt’
A man carrying a halo walks into Bargoed. An observant beggar sits on the highstreet. Mrs Hargreeves is stressing out trying to get her seven kids home from the shop. Cato is chopping garlic in his shed with an eye on the armageddon clock.
Tomorrow, the world’s media will come to town to find out what went down.
‘The Bargoed Miracle’, a graphic novel I was hired to illustrate over the winter by Literature Wales, who instigated the project alongside Caerphilly Arts Development.
Link to online version posted by South Wales Literature here:
And the following images are edits of some of my favourite pages
It was a brilliant experience to get to work on visualising such a unique (and bizarre) story and to work with the writing group at the Innovative Project in Rhymney, and witness the energy of writer/perfomer Mike Church.
The Bargoed Miracle written by: Mike Church, Mcauley wheeton, Alisha Michael, Angharad Price, dylan Reynolds, Jake James, Keiron Connick, Callum Thomas, John Goddard, Myomi Clear, India Davies, Corey Emmot, and Libbie Jones.