Friday 24 November 2023 - Sunday 10 March 2024
10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Kathryn Ashill, Angela Davies, Kirsti Davies, Dylan Huw, Durre Shahwar, Rhys Slade-Jones, Fern Thomas, Heledd Wyn
Glynn Vivian is excited to present gludafael / holdfast, a group exhibition in which a collective of eight artists navigate art’s capacity to respond to the climate emergency.
Glynn Vivian at Night Thursday 23 November 2023, 5.30pm – 8:00pm
Bringing together new research and work by artists Kathryn Ashill, Angela Davies, Kirsti Davies, Dylan Huw, Durre Shahwar, Rhys Slade-Jones, Fern Thomas and Heledd Wyn, the exhibition speaks to the experiences of individuals and communities, and the inequities and absurdities of the systems that organise us and the world.
Kathryn Ashill responds to the call of the ‘rag & bone man’, which today we hear over the tannoy asking for ‘any old iron’ and in the middle ages called out for rags and for bones. The trade’s history is a precursor to modern-day recycling and Kath replies to their call for our scrap with questions of her own – about class, blame and whose voice is heard in the chorus of people working in climate justice – with a new folk song.
Drawing on future plans for a 19-mile tidal lagoon in North Wales, Angela Davies considers the history of lido pools in Wales and how, as many were built by the miner’s welfare fund, they hold an interwoven history with extraction and energy production. In Aequus, aerial scenes of dancers performing in an empty lido pool at Craig y Don, Llandudno are echoed by dancers performing in the Irish sea. The film arose out of a desire to explore the complex entanglements, which coexist as we find ways to synchronise our movements towards reimagining the future beyond our horizon.
Kirsti Davies is motivated by the following question: How do we find the language to reclaim the narrative of the climate crisis, when environmental institutions are not working? The thread of hope she follows is seaweed. Building on expansive community dialogues in Machynlleth, where Kirsti worked with local residents and businesses to bring seaweeds back into daily use, the exhibition presents her evolving resource, Gwymona, inviting visitors to explore the many possibilities seaweeds offer us.
Drawing on long-term research, Dylan Huw develops new writing presented as a pair of sound works, produced with artist Freya Dooley. Speculating upon ways of narrating the overwhelming nature of life and labour in times conditioned by ecological collapse
The two pieces foreground thinking that is restless, queer, networked, tired, turned over and recirculated. It has emerged from fever dreams and the earliest surviving photograph of a bonfire (taken near Swansea in 1853) to scroll through the ubiquity of images of fire and destruction in everyday visual culture.
Durre Shahwar draws on the familial object of a water pot to consider the displaced experience of the climate catastrophe for communities in Pakistan. This clay vessel has been used throughout generations, as it is today, by women walking through flood waters caused by earthquakes to carry life-sustaining, fresh water. Durre amplifies the disturbance of this water, asking us to think about these changing rhythms and what we are collecting as the world shifts.
Treherbert’s Old Age Hall is brought into the gallery in miniature size by Rhys Slade-Jones, stitched together from the velvet curtains of the hall’s stage. For its tent-like scale, Rhys draws on dimensions from their mother and from themselves, raising questions about the things we inherit and those we leave behind, on a multigenerational planetary scale. In creating this model, of a uniquely special community space, the artist asks what structures we need for the future and what old age we’d like to have when we get there.
Working with the image of Aquarius, the ‘water bearer’, as constellation and astrological sign, Fern Thomas considers the need for new guiding images as we bear witness to climate collapse. Steeped in myths of great floods, but also a symbol of new beginnings, community and grassroots action, Fern offers this ancient constellation as a tool for re-storying these mythic times. As Sufi teacher Emmanuel Vaughan Lee suggests, ‘the shifts that are unfolding are so monumental—they are mythic […]We cannot understand them unless we use the language of myth.’
Heledd Wyn’s installation emerges from her research into the history of hemp production in Wales and the ways hemp, as a multipurpose crop that is used to make biomaterials which can in turn be biodegradable and compostable, feed into a soil-to-soil circular system. The installation holds a planet, called NON, and Heledd proposes that in amongst the fear and anxiety of the climate emergency, one thing we can all do for the planet is slow down, consume less and do less. How there is power in non-action to find balance.
The artists in gludafael / holdfast were brought together through the 2022 Future Wales Fellowship, an opportunity developed by Natural Resources Wales and the Arts Council of Wales as part of the Creative Nature Programme, supporting artists to research the impact climate change has on everyday life. This exhibition has been commissioned by Natural Resources Wales, supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Glynn Vivian, and developed with curator Louise Hobson.
There will be a series of artist-led public programmes alongside the exhibition, including talks, events, performance and workshops, running from January – March 2024.
About the Artists
Kathryn Ashill, based on Barry Island, has a multi-disciplinary practice which includes amateur dramatics, theatre boards, Drag King culture, video, and performance. Kathryn has exhibited work nationally and internationally, and was recently a Future Wales Fellow. They recently completed their PHD at Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at The University of Manchester which explored the potential of inter-species collaboration in artwork, through performance and bio therapy. This research was funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Angela Davies work has been exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions including IKT and Mostyn, Fosun Foundation, Shanghai, S12 Galleri Bergen, Norway and V2 Lab for the Unstable Media, Netherlands and Pontio Arts & Innovation, Bangor. Recent awards include Arts Council Wales Future Wales Fellowship (2022), A-N Time & Space Bursary (2020) and Creative Wales Award (2018). Davies is also co-founder of StudioMADE an artist led gallery and multi-disciplinary studio within Denbigh, Wales.
Kirsti Davies is a seaweed-obsessed artist. She’s convinced it’s the holy grail to all our problems, so is on a mission to convert as many others as possible. Through workshops, interactive installations, online resources and in-person events, Kirsti attempts to connect us with the mysterious underwater world of seaweeds. Kirsti was born and grew up in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, where she recently returned to raise her young family.
Dylan Huw is a writer, critic and convenor of artistic programmes. He writes for publications including Artforum, Frieze and O’r Pedwar Gwynt, and collaborates regularly with Peak Cymru. He is currently developing a curatorial project on queer vocabulary-making in and across minor/itised language cultures, supported by the Jerwood New Work Fund and Wales Arts International. He has an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London, and currently lives in Cardiff.
Durre Shahwar is a writer, artist, and an AHRC-funded PhD Candidate in Creative Writing, researching autofiction and cultural identity at Cardiff University, where she also teaches. Durre is the editor of Gathering: Women of Colour on Nature (2024, 404 Ink). She is a Future Wales Fellow, focusing on climate justice and art. Durre has been published widely, and is a Writer-in-Residence at Wasafiri International Magazine. She was shortlisted and highly commended for the Morley Lit Prize 2022.
Rhys Slade-Jones is an artist and performance maker preoccupied by things that are fun, silly and aggressive. Straddling the realms of performance, cabaret and craft they make work with and for working class communities, centring joy and vengeance. A founding member of queer, Welsh performance collective CWM RAG, Rhys is often under a wig on top of a mountain. Rhys is currently making work with National Theatre, National Theatre Wales, BBC, and S4C.
Fern Thomas is an artist and writer exploring the intersection between place-based and folkloric histories, traditional magical practices and spiritual ecology. Fern has her MA in Social Sculpture, a territory of transdisciplinary practice focused on the shaping of a humane and ecologically viable society. In 2022 Fern had her solo show Spirit Mirror at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and she is a recently nominated recipient of the Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award. Fern is currently undertaking an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD at Amgueddfa Cymru and University of South Wales.
Heledd Wyn is an artist, film-maker, photographer and director. Heledd has a degree in drama, and training from both the National Film and Television School and the BBC. Her work ‘NON’, created through the Future Wales Fellowship, was presented at the Senedd, the National Eisteddfod, Pontio, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Mostyn Gallery and at Green Man Festival.
Curator, Louise Hobson
Louise Hobson is an independent curator and also Co-Director of Peak Cymru. Louise has curated exhibitions and public programmes with Chapter (2022) Grand Union (2019), Oriel Davies (2017/18), Cardiff Contemporary (2016) and Mission Gallery (2015) and she has also held curatorial roles with Art Night (2020/21) and Wales in Venice (2019). Alongside her role at Peak, Louise is currently developing SWAY, exploring the potential of intertidal thinking with artists, curators, researchers, writers and residents in Barry.
Natural Resources Wales and the Future Wales Fellowship
Natural Resources Wales are proud to be leading the way in the challenge of ensuring Wales can survive and thrive against the backdrop of the nature, climate and pollution emergencies. As a Welsh Government Sponsored Body, they advise and regulate industry, and work with partners to improve the quality of our waters, air and land. In September 2020, Natural Resources Wales signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Arts Council of Wales outlining a shared vision for future partnership working. In response to this, both organisations formulated the Creative Nature Programme, which included the first Future Wales Fellowship. This iteration of the Fellowship was a transformational opportunity for 8 artists to create new work that disrupts current thinking about food, energy and transport systems and engages people with the need to change lifestyles to reduce emissions. The programme was developed and delivered in partnership with The Centre for Alternative Technology.