An exhibition sponsored by Bethan Sayed AM Senedd & Pierhead 8 January – 20 February
‘Cartographic Imaginaries’ presents a collection of commissioned artwork in response to twelve English language novels set in Wales. These form part of the wider Literary Atlas of Wales project, which investigates how books and maps help us understand the spatial nature of the human condition. More specifically it explores how English language novels set in Wales contribute to our understanding of the real-and-imagined nature of the country, its history, and its communities.
In the commission brief, artists were invited to “play with traditional notions of cartographic mapping, and to explore the possibilities of visually communicating the relations between ‘page’ and ‘place’, as well as ‘books’ and ‘maps’.”
Through diverse approaches, each work proves that just as there is no single way to read a book or to know a place; each creates and inhabits its own unique ‘cartographic imaginary’. Yet together, the works embrace multiple voices that speak of the richness of writing, thinking, and inhabiting “real-and-imagined” Wales.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Why not head to Cardiff Bay to visit the Senedd?
From politics to architecture, from art to artisan Welsh products, the Senedd has something for everyone.
1. The award-winning architecture and design
The Senedd is truly one of a kind. It’s huge funnel and canopy made of sustainable Canadian cedar wood are best viewed from inside the building, where you can explore on two levels.
2. Explore the Senedd trail
Looking for some fun, free children’s activities to enjoy this weekend? Little explorers can time-travel through the centuries on our children’s trails. Search the Senedd and collect the clues – and find out lots of interesting facts along the way. Hand your completed card back to Reception and enter the draw to win a prize!
3. See what happens behind the scenes
Over the summer our guided tours include exclusive access to areas not usually open to the public. Our friendly, expert guides will take you on a journey through the history of the Bay through to the architecture of the Senedd and Wales today. Best of all, tours are free and run daily at 11.00 / 14.00 / 15.00
4. Enjoy a taste of Wales in our café and shop
A day of exploring the Bay calls for a paned (Welsh for ‘cuppa’) and cake in our café. Choose from a range of refreshments and enjoy beautiful views of the Bay through the Senedd’s huge windows. Next to the café is the shop, which stocks Welsh produce, books and gifts.
5. Take in some art
The Senedd will be hosting some great new exhibitions throughout the Summer.
You could create your own postcard from Wales inspired by Steve Knapik MBE’s huge installation and post it in our post box. Discover some of the history of Cardiff Bay through Jack K Neale’s old black and white images of ships sailing out of Bute Docks, carrying South Wales coal back to France. Or think about what you’d add to Drawn Together, a national project which invited people to take five minutes to draw something they could see. In total over 4,500 people participated, with drawings received from every county in Wales.
6. The friendliest security in Cardiff
As with any parliamentary building, all visitors are required to go through airport-style security on their way into the Senedd. However, our Security team strive to make a good first impression. Here is a very small selection of the many comments we’ve received about them on Trip Advisor:
“Had to pass through security, but they were the politest I’ve encountered (Heathrow take note)” Celticfire
“Friendliest government building I have ever visited! Beautiful and interesting building manned by the friendliest staff I’ve ever come across. Even the security guards were a delight ensuring an easy, safe transit into the building.” Gillyflower58
“Airport style security performed by some very happy and friendly staff.” 138Paul138
Did we mention we also have a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence?
7. Enjoy the Senedd’s environmental design
Baking hot in Cardiff Bay? The Senedd’s unique design keeps it lovely and cool on summer days. It’s windows actually open and close automatically to help regulate the temperature inside.
8. Help us celebrate 20 years
This year we are celebrating 20 years of the National Assembly for Wales. Share your aspirations for Wales over the next 20 years on our board.
9. We’ve got Lego®, Duplo® and activities for little ones
If you’re feeling inspired after seeing the Bright Bricks dragon, princess and wizard in Mermaid Quay, come along and add your own Lego® creation to our map of Wales. Throughout the holidays we also have colouring and craft available to keep little ones entertained while you enjoy a well-earned sit down.
And how much does it cost to access all this, I hear you ask? Nothing. The Senedd is a public building – your building – and we are open 7 days a week. Whether you’re visiting Cardiff for the weekend or you’re a local who’s never ventured inside, head down to the Senedd this summer as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Assembly for Wales.
Steve Knapik MBE tells
us all about his exhibition, ‘A Postcard from Wales’ which is opening at the
Senedd on the 27th of July 2019.
I am an artist, but I am also passionate about my work with
the Blue Balloon Children’s Charity. Through this charity, many people work
hard to improve children’s lives in Wales.
A few years ago, I wanted to help Blue Balloon by organising a huge art
project to create a very, very big landscape artwork; so big in fact, that I
hoped to break the Guinness World Record for the Longest Continuing Landscape
artwork. I knew that this would be a lot of work, so I asked for help from many
different people, including primary school pupils, groups supporting people
living with dementia, and pupils from schools for those with additional needs.
It was important to me to get a range of people involved so that we could make
sure that the project was inclusive and welcoming to all.
We worked hard for five years. It took a lot of work to
organise everything, but it was worth it when I could see the excitement and
enjoyment on everyone’s face. If we were to break the Guinness World
Record we needed at least 30,000
drawings, so there was a lot of work to be done! Each drawing had lines showing
where the mountains and sky were, and this meant that the drawings could be
joined together to create one large joined artwork. I saw a lot of creative
talent and imaginative ways of thinking about our landscapes. For example, some
primary school children used blocks of coloured stripes to represent fields.
Everyone was excited about our World Record attempt. Even
the Liberty Stadium in Swansea was ready for us to display over 5 miles of
original, joined up drawings…
And then, bad news! We discovered that our project couldn’t
be registered as a World Record. I felt very sad and disappointed. What was I
going to do with all these fantastic drawings? But I was determined not to be
defeated. These amazing artworks deserved to be on display. I needed an iconic,
important building to show the talent and creativity that I had seen in
children all over Wales.
I got in touch with the National Assembly for Wales and I
met Alice, who is a curator there. She works with artists to organise
exhibitions. Where better for these brilliant artworks than the Senedd, the
home of democracy in Wales, where people make important decisions about what
happens in our country? Alice and I met a few times to come up with the best
solution to display the artwork in the Senedd, and finally we were ready to put
the exhibition together for everyone to enjoy.
I feel that the Senedd will be the perfect place to show our
artwork, and I am looking forward to getting even more people involved, by
encouraging visitors to the Senedd to make postcards to send, and to celebrate
a lot of exciting things that are happening at the Assembly this year…
The 20th Anniversary of
the National Assembly for Wales.
It was such
an honour to be chosen to be part of this important celebration. The National
Assembly for Wales was created twenty years ago, and the Senedd is the perfect
place for a big celebration. The building is open to the public, and I’m very
pleased to ask YOU the public to come in and take part in creating your
own, unique landscape to continue the project. I hope you have as much fun as
over 30,000 children and adults had before you, taking part in our project.
The Welsh Youth
In February this year the Welsh Youth Parliament, made of 60
young people aged 11 – 18, met for the first time. We want to help celebrate
this wonderful event and stand alongside the 60 members who represent every
part of Wales. Each member has a big interest in a part of life that affects
young people today. It is so important for our young people to have a voice,
and the Youth Parliament work hard to make sure that that voice is heard. Some
members of the Youth Parliament even took part in my project when they were at
In many ways the motto of the Blue Balloon Children’s
charity, ‘Today’s hope for a better tomorrow’ can also be applied to these
young people who represent the voices of all young people in Wales –helping to make a difference.
The Arts as part of
our Welsh identity.
Wales as a nation has a strong sense of belonging and
identity. This is shown in so many ways, especially through the arts. We
celebrate Wales as the Land of Song, so music is a strong part of our heritage;
but so are poetry, drama and the visual arts. Inspiration comes from many
sources. Artists have for many centuries been fascinated by the landscapes of
Wales: the mountains, sea and sky.
It is important that we take a close look at our immediate
environment, and whilst talking to people young and less young throughout the
project, we talked about many issues that are having an effect on where we
live. The environment around us can help to start discussion, and we showed our
feelings about our environment through our landscape artworks. We must never
lose sight of the importance the arts plays in society and how it can be very
positive for our wellbeing and sense of who we are.
Our guest blog comes from Sarah A Morgan, Senior Branch Engagement Officer at the National Autistic Society – Wales, as we mark World Autism Awareness Week.
As an Autism Friendly Award holder we are proud to mark World Autism Awareness Week. The Autism Friendly Award demonstrates our commitment to being an accessible venue for visitors who are on the autism spectrum.
Below are some of the things the Assembly does in order to achieve the accreditation, we have:
• a section on our website dedicated to visitors with autism. The section provides information links to specifically designed resources in different formats;
• designated quiet areas for people with autism to rest and de-stress;
• ensured relevant staff received disability confidence training, which includes a section on autism;
• identified Autism Champions from across the organisation, and
• established links with National Autistic Society and work closely with them to ensure we are an organisation that engages with everyone in Wales, including people with autism.
We like to think that we are a modern, accessible parliamentary body with which people from a diverse range of backgrounds can easily and meaningfully interact, because our facilities, services and information are accessible to all. However, don’t take our word for it, here is what Sarah from the NAS had to say about visiting the Senedd with a group of their volunteers and service users.
“I have been to the Senedd for many different occasions, on the last visit I attend a guided tour with a group of our clients. This tour was during Disability Access day and it was specifically designed to caterer for individuals who are autistic.
Knowing that the Senedd had achieved their NAS autism Friendly Award it was a chance to see if they were applying their best practice work in practice.
The tour was very easy to book and the website was very clear and descriptive of what may happen on the day. Soon arrival we knew we would have to go through security, but they were very helpful. Then going to reception, we found the staff were once again very helpful and friendly. Our experience was all very good and it was not long before the tour guide was there to assist.
The guide was so informative and had a knowledge of the specific requirements of the group. He tailored the tour to the needs of the individuals and made it very fun and Interactive. He was always checking on the group and adjusted things accordingly.
Everyone enjoyed the tour and it was a great success, I think we all took a lot away from the visit.
The Senedd really is doing a good job of helping everyone enjoy their experience. The staff seemed very aware of Autism and how they could help make the group enjoy their visit. It is always very pleasing to know that a business is autism Friendly, but it was great to experience this first hand.”
Artists Scarlett Raven and Marc Marot are among the world’s first ‘augmentists’, mixing fine art and technology to tell poignant stories of the Great War through poems, animation and music.
Scarlett is passionate about colour, her dynamic approach often sees her use her hands rather than a brush to apply oil paint. Her sweeping arm gestures create movement and direction, with the artist being likened to Anselm Kiefer and Jackson Pollock. Scarlett says:
“The paint is thrown on, splattered and flicked. When it lands, it captures the flowers blowing in the wind. The movement must be in every layer, so when you step back you feel like the landscape is alive. It creates a whole world of magic.”
Marc Marot, who enjoyed a successful career as a record executive before joining forces with oil painter Scarlett, says:
“Our work is highly emotionally-charged, and its power lies in allowing our audience to immerse themselves in very powerful feelings. It takes them out of the here and now. We don’t hold an exhibition, we hold a visual experience.”
Their latest collaboration is ‘The Soldier’s Own Diary’, a unique oil painting which, when viewed through the Blippar app, tells the remarkable story of a Cwmbran prisoner of war named Robert Phillips.
How? Watch artist Scarlett Raven’s video to find out:
Robert Phillips was born in New Tredegar in 1893. He joined The Welsh Regiment in 1914, but following a gas attack he was captured at Ypres and sent to work at a camp 200 miles away in Homburg, Western Germany.
In 1916, after 15 months in German captivity, he managed to escape and began making his way home to Wales on foot. A fellow prisoner was an astrologer, and Phillips was able to navigate his way north to Holland using the stars as a guide. It took him months of walking at night, stealing chickens and eggs to survive the journey, before he finally made it back to Wales during the winter of 1916.
Artists Marc and Scarlett would like to thank Robert’s granddaughter Lynda Osbourne for allowing them into her home to both learn about him and photograph his original artefacts. These included his diary, which he kept in 1917 after returning to Wales and inspired the naming of the painting.
Prior to her death in 2015 Marc’s Wrexham-born mother made him promise to create a painting for Wales, so ‘The soldier’s own diary’ is dedicated to both her and the brave men of Wales who sacrificed so much.
Castle Fine Art Cardiff, which represent the artists, have kindly loaned us the painting in time for Remembrance so that it can be experienced by the people of Wales, many of whom can relate to the story of Private Phillips.
‘The Soldier’s Own Diary’ forms part of our 2018 Remembrance programme, alongside ‘The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Wales’.
An organised women’s suffrage movement operated continuously in Britain for more than sixty years, with partial enfranchisement won in 1918 and equal voting rights with men finally achieved ten years later. This exhibition aims to provide a snapshot of Wales’s part in this lengthy and multifaceted campaign, the photographs, images and artefacts seeking to illustrate some of its principal elements.
Exhibitions: ‘The Soldier’s Own Diary’ by Scarlett Raven and Marc Marot / ‘The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Wales’
Date: 1-25 November 2018
Location: Senedd, Cardiff Bay
The Senedd is currently open:
Monday – Friday 9:30 – 16:30
Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays (all year) 10:30 – 16:30
Our blog post comes from David Meredith, Chair of the Kyffin Williams Trust ahead of the launch of the Kyffin Williams Exhibition at the Senedd.
The Kyffin exhibition at the Senedd, through paintings and prints, representsKyffin’s vast artistic output, is a fitting tribute to the genius of Sir John Kyffin Williams.
Painting for over 60 years, Kyffin became an expert in the use of the palette knife for his powerful creations, his landscapes, seascapes and portraits in oil. He was also a glorious and sensitive painter in watercolour as exemplified by his painting of flowers. Kyffin was also a keen exponent of prints.
An artist, a teacher and an influencer
To Kyffin, the preparation and printing of black and white and colour prints of his oil paintings – along with his masterly ink wash drawings, remarkably pleasing to the eye – meant that as many people as possible had access to art: the teacher in Kyffin was always to the fore. Before moving home to Anglesey in Wales in 1974 Kyffin had been the senior art master at Highgate School in London for 30 years. As an artist, Kyffin realised early in his career that painting was not just putting images down on paper or canvas, but that love and mood was involved in the act of painting.
Such was Kyffin’s artistic influence, status and appeal that the paintings exhibited at the Senedd are not only from galleries and museums but also from Government offices, from individual homes in different parts of Wales, from broadcasting centres (ITV Cymru Wales and BBC Cymru Wales) and from University Collections (Aberystwyth University). The glory of this exhibition is that most of the paintings featured here are a part of people’s everyday lives, paintings that surround people in the workplace and in the house as well as in academia and art galleries.
A national treasure
Sir Kyffin was truly a national treasure and a great benefactor to Wales, an artist by his own admission who painted in Welsh!
In a television interview in 2004. Sir Kyffin said that he ‘had painted thousands of paintings’. A few years previously, he had been criticised for painting too many paintings, only to reply to his critics with a remarkable limerick:
‘They said that enough was enough,
The output of work by old Kyff,
So they finally put strictures
On his output of pictures
So the output of Kyffin was nothing!’
Kyffin had a wonderful sense of humour!
Luckily for us he continued to paint. As Professor Tony Jones, a fellow Anglesey man and Director of the Kansas City Art Institute said:
‘Kyffin’s way of painting, the look and the style of his work, is distinctive, personal, unique – but is also immediately accessible to a wide audience … he captures the hanfod, the essence perhaps even the DNA of the Welsh landscape and he put it all in the paint.’
Kyffin’s friend and fellow artist Gareth Parry once said of Kyffin’s liberal use of paint that it was good enough to eat! Gareth always encouraged people to practically put their nose in it and revel in Kyffin’s palette knife markings.
You can visit the Kyffin Williams Exhibition at the Senedd from 4 – 31 October 2018.
During August 2018 the National Assembly for Wales was proud to play an integral role in this year’s National Eisteddfod by hosting a range of exhibitions, discussions and events exploring life in Wales.
Dubbed the Eisteddfod with no fence, the Senedd became home to Y Lle Celf (the art exhibition) and the Societies Pavilion.
The Eisteddfod has hosted an ‘Art and Crafts’ exhibition in some form since 1865. Nowadays Y Lle Celf comprises of a multi-media exhibition of contemporary fine and applied art, and a celebration of architecture in Wales.
This year exhibits included Jin Eui Kim’s eye-catching ceramics, 2018 Tony Globe Award winner Philip Watkins’ paintings of Valleys life and 2018 Gold Medal and People’s Choice award winner Zoe Preece’s ceramic and wood pieces, alongside many other thought-provoking displays.
Covering much of the Senedd’s floor, you can watch André Stitt’s huge installation take shape in this time-lapse video:
The Societies Pavilion saw the Assembly host discussions on issues including austerity, women’s role in politics, votes at 16, democracy and the arts, electoral reform and justice in Wales.
If you missed them the first time you can view them again here:
Democracy and the Arts: the effect of one on the other Democracy and the Arts play a central role in the lives of Welsh people – but how do they affect each other?
Llywydd of the National Assembly, Elin Jones AM, chaired a discussion panel along with the Chair of the Assembly’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, Bethan Sayed AM, Artist Elin Meredydd and leading dance, performance artist and presenter Eddie Ladd.
Ready for the vote?
An event in partnership with the Electoral Commission to discuss reducing the voting age to 16 at elections in Wales.
The discussion was chaired by Elan Closs Stephens, Electoral Commissioner for Wales with panellists Elin Jones AM, Llywydd, Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales and young people including Ethan Williams, Vice-President of Urdd Gobaith Cymru and Vice-Chair of the Syr IfanC Board, the Urdd’s National Youth Forum.
Women’s Role in Politics Marking 100 years since the successful campaign to secure votes for women, Elin Jones AM, Llywydd, was joined by historian Dr Elin Jones to discuss the influence of women on politics in Wales, in the past and present. Journalist and TV presenter Bethan Rhys Roberts chaired.
6948 people attended events at the Societies Pavilion during the week.
For non-fluent Welsh speakers the Pierhead became the home of Shw’mae Caerdydd – the centre for information about the Welsh language – for the duration of the festival. Sessions included a discussion about Welsh dialects, alongside workshops from clog dancing to hat making.
Friday 10 August saw Llywydd Elin Jones among those honoured by the Gorsedd of the Bards, alongside Welsh rugby international Jamie Roberts and the musician Geraint Jarman, and was presented with the blue robe for her service to the nation.
Later in the week there was also the small matter of the homecoming event for Geraint Thomas, celebrating his remarkable achievement in becoming the first ever Welshman to win the Tour de France.
Geraint was welcomed by Llywydd Elin Jones at her annual reception at the Eisteddfod, before being greeted by Catrin Heledd, Band Pres Llanreggub, the band Siddi and finally the thousands of excited fans who had congregated on the steps of the Senedd.
One of the most popular activities at the Senedd during the week was the chance to visit the Assembly’s debating Chamber, where for the first time visitors were able to have their picture taken in the Llywydd’s seat. Over 5595 people took advantage of this unique opportunity to momentarily assume the role of the Llywydd, and experience what it might be like to oversee debates in the Chamber.
During the Eisteddfod we welcomed over 18,000 visitors to the Senedd, over half of which had never visited the Assembly before, and we hope they left knowing a little bit more about how devolution in Wales works.
This year’s Y Lle Celf artists were: Justine Allison, Billy Bagilhole, Jo Berry, Kelly Best, Zena Blackwell, Steve Buck, Ray Church, Nerea Martinez de Lecea, Cath Fairgrieve, Mark Houghton, Gethin Wyn, Jones, Jin Eui Kim, Anna Lewis, Laura Lillie, Gweni Llwyd, James Moore, Marged Elin Owain, Zoe Preece, Glyn Roberts, John Rowley, André Stitt, Caroline Taylor, Jennifer Taylor, Sean Vicary, Adele Vye, Philip Watkins, and Casper White.