Go West: For The Bees, Ironstone and Turning Tides

If you’re not lucky enough to live in West Wales (my former stamping ground for over 15 years) then here are some reasons to brave Arriva Trains or the caravan infested M4.

First of all there’s a really rare-as-hen’s-teeth opportunity to see sculpture in the stunning setting of Kidwelly Castle. Sculpture Cymru have done it again – filling the gaping void left by the galleries and museums in Wales and pulled another cracking show out of their collective hats.

Ironstone, at Cadw’s Kidwelly Castle, celebrates contemporary cast iron sculpture and was selected by Sir Wilfred Cass of the Cass Sculpture Foundation and he did the opening honours at the private view in July for the collected sculpture enthusiasts, including international delegates from the Sixth International Conference of Contemporary Cast Iron Art, who had taken up residence at Kidwelly Industrial Museum.

The sculpture on offer covers the range of work in this medium from the functional to the thought-provoking (and chuckle-inducing), and all points in between. I’ve written about this show more extensively in the current free blown magazine‘s July/August e-zine so please follow the e-zine link. The show runs until September 17 and is definitely worth the modest admission charge to the Castle, one of the best preserved of the Norman castles that watched over the seas and the restless natives.

On the way there or back you can visit the more urban waterfront of Swansea and call in to the golden nugget that is The Mission Gallery in Swansea to see Aled Rhys Hughes exhibition A Turning Tide. These images capture the essence of the Welsh coast and examine notions of The Seaside. They are in a sense quiet and contemplative, even in the drama of some of the images. The exhibition is half of a whole as the original project was a collaboration with the late poet Iwan Llwyd that led to a book for GomerĀ  Rhyw Deid yn Dod Miwn.

Elsewhere in Swansea, Owen Griffiths and Fern Thomas are worried about the bees. On Friday 6th August they brought an especially formed choir together to sing to their two bee hives, in the gardens of Swansea University. The project has already attracted a lot of media attention and is set to rack up more as the artist-duo produce records, video, drawings and project documentation to raise awareness of the decline of Britain’s honey bees.

Following the short but beautiful choral performance the audience had a chance to to view footage of the work so far in their golden caravan (see pic top) and to buy badges and prints in support of the project, quite possibly one the very last to be funded through the Stiwdio Safle progamme before it comes to an end with the wind-up of Safle, as covered in my previous blog. How artist-initiated projects will fare in the future is a topic for another day, but my cogs are already whirring on this one…

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