Y Lle Celf 2009
31st July 2009
367 artists, architects and makers submitted artwork for consideration to be included in this years exhibition at Y Lle Celf. Over 150 individual pieces were selected from 56 Welsh artists and makers.
Rhys Bevan Jones - Clogio Am Byth / Clog Dancing Forever
Elfyn Lewis has been awarded The Gold Medal for Fine Art
Elfyn Lewis who is originally from Porthmadog, received the Gold Medal for Fine Art and £3,000 prize money. This is the first time that Elfyn has exhibited in Y Lle Celf since 1999. Elfyn has exhibited widely during his career and has won several awards including the prestigious Focal Purchase Prize and the Warren Morris Perpetual Cup. On receiving his award Elfyn said:
"I'm delighted to have won the Gold Medal at this year's National Eisteddfod. I feel that all the work I've done over the years as an artist is now being recognised. I've been tremendously lucky to have had the support of my family and art teachers, who gave me the impetus and belief to carry on with my ambition to paint and be an artist".
Lowri Davies has been awarded The Gold Medal for Craft and Design. Lowri's work was recently a part of Ruthin Craft Centre's 'Welsh Table' exhibition which featured in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, USA. Lowri has also exhibited at SOFA Chicago and received the Harley Gallery Prize for most promising newcomer in 2004.
A film about 'Welsh Table' featuring both Lowri Davies and Virginia Graham, who also has had work selected for this years exhibition at the Eisteddfod, will be shown on this web site very soon.
Virginia Graham's work on exhibition at Y Lle Celf this week.
Carwyn Evans receives the Fine Art award and £2000. Seen here is 'Close Your Eyes and Think Of Home' which shows a number of photographic portraits of Polish workers who now live near his childhood home of Newcastle Emlyn in West Wales. This work was first shown in exhibition at Oriel Davies in Newtown. A film of that exhibition together with a discussion between Carwyn and Iwan Bala about that exhibition will both be available here on Culture Colony - Y Wladfa Newydd very soon.
Carwyn is no stranger to Eisteddfod success. He was awarded the Young Artist of the Year prize at the National Eisteddfod in Llanelli in 2000 and became the first recipient of the Ivor Davies Award at the National Eisteddfod in Meifod in 2003 and again in 2007 when it was based at Mold.
Stephen West's drawing 'Tannery Dog'.
This year a third of the 56 exhibitors are 'new faces' and haven't exhibited at Y Lle Celf before which is very positive news indeed as Robyn Tomos, the National Eisteddfod's Visual Arts Officer explains:
"It's great to see such a large number of new faces amongst this year's exhibitors. The fact that two former recipients of the Eisteddfod's Young Artist of the Year Award- Lowri Davies and Carwyn Evans- are amongst this year's winners, is proof that Y Lle Celf provides an essential catalyst for Wales's creative talents.
"Although after saying that there's no way we can predict who will win from year to year either -it's been ten years since Elfyn Lewis's work was shown at the Open Exhibition. And here he is scooping the Gold Medal for Fine Art after a long period of working diligently on his own".
David Garner's 'Poppycock'
Hadau (Sowing Seeds) is the Meirion and District 2009 Cerdd Dant Commission. Four years ago, during a residency at Ysgol Y Parc in Bala, artist Christine Mills had expressed an interest in responding to cerdd dant through the medium of art.
Christine Mills preparing her installation 'Hadau' (Seeds).
Christine collaborated with the composer Guto Pryderi Puw, himself a former pupil at Parc. Guto's grandparents W.H. and Gwen Pugh were instrumental in establishing the Cerdd Dant Society of Wales in 1934. Throughout the eisteddfod week three performances a day of the new composition by Guto will take place within Christines installation in Y Lle Celf.
Christine was given access to W.H. Pugh's archives and discovered some of his musical notes jotted onto an envelope. The envelope had the address of a seed manufacturer upon it and so the initial idea for the instalation began to take shape. The notes were musical seeds, these seeds could be scattered and allowed to germinate and grow.
Hadau - detail from the installation.
Hadau - detail from the installation.
Cerdd Dant depends on a whole host of participants - poets, those who set the words to music, tutors, harpists and of course the performers themselves. These according to Christine Mills are 'our gardeners' - those people who uphold the culture and values of our rural communities.
Christine and Guto invited the poet from Bala, Andrea Parry, to work with them to write the words to accompany Guto's musical composition and perform it within Christines installation at Y Lle Celf. Joining them for the performances are the mezzo-soprano Ann Atkinson and harpist Einir Wyn Hughes.
The preparatory work, researching and rehearsing, was filmed by Pixel Foundry Artists Archive and will be shown here, with the performance from the Bala Eisteddfod, on Culture Colony - Y Wladfa Newydd shortly.
Differentiated by Ifor Davies
After some deliberation about who should receive the Ifor Davies Award (for a work that conveys the spirit of activism in the struggle for language, culture and politics in Wales) Ifor Davies began his tour of the exhibition at his own work. "As a boy" he said "I was told never to boast about my own things.... well I'm not a boy anymore and so I'll start my tour of the exhibition here and I'll tell you about this piece".
Differentiated reflects upon the polarised perceptions of dam building and the flooding of valleys. On the one hand these feats of engineering are celebrated, and Ifor includes Chinese currency printed with great dams upon them and pages from his own childhood books with prints of great constructions holding back the waters. On the other hand these massive projects destroy communities and force people from their homes. Ifor includes his own correspondence with governments where he is protesting about the flooding of valleys in Turkey.
Ifor Davies 'Differentiated' (detail)
There is also a collection of objects. When Ifor's father died, Ifor decided to throw nothing of his away and some of these things have also made it into this work. Everything has a place, whether its old twine used for planting rows of seeds, an old rusty funnel or the skulls of a tiger, a badger and a man.
Emily Jenkins 'Cofiwch Dryweryn/Remember Tryweryn'
At a brisk pace Ifor led his congregation around Y Lle Celf to focus on a number of pieces that he had considered for the Ifor Davies Award, including Remember Tryweryn by Emily Jenkins. Although a number of artists have taken on the theme of Tryweryn and the destruction of the community of Capel Celyn in 1968, Ifor insisted that there will always be a place for works by Welsh artists inspired by these events because, at a national level, we must never forget. It is very apropriate that work about Tryweryn is displayed here again this year in Y Bala.
Other works that Ifor had considered included Rhys Bevan Jones' 'Wyt Ti'n Gelt?' and 'Clocsio Am Byth', Marian Delyth's three photographs of graffiti, Marian Evans' 'Lloches Ddirgel' (which reminded Ifor of his grandmothers secret pocket from where she would produce sweets), Roger Lougher's 'Welsh' photographic studio portraits and prints by Thomas Williams.
Osi Rhys Osmond 'Llanw'
The tour finally ended at the work of Osi Rhys Osmond. 'Llanw' and 'Llwch y Ser', works that are possibly therapy, as Osi tries to come to terms with the beauty around him in Llansteffan where he lives and the fact that it is also a bombing range. As wading birds look for their food in the mud flats of the estuary, fighter jets and troop transports fly overhead to the sound of explosives on the other shore. These unframed works, drawn, painted, smeared and scratched display an immediacy, a need, to confront this paradox directly. Sometimes painting and drawing is not enough and notes are scrawled into the paper, glued and roughly joined together. It is all too apparent to Osi that these war machines and sounds ripping through the landscape are all too real in the lives of so many, in Palestine for example.
Osi Rhys Osmond 'Llanw' (detail)
It was to Osi Rhys Osmond that this years Ifor Davies Award was presented.
A film of Ifor Davis' deliberation and tour of the exhibition will be showing here on Culture Colony - Y Wladfa Newydd later in the year and a film of Osi's exhibition in Mwldan Arts Centre, Cardigan will also be showing here soon.
The list of this years winners
Elfyn Lewis: The Gold Medal for Fine Art
Carwyn Evans: Fine Art award
Naomi Leake: Highly Commended
Lowri Davies: The Gold Medal for Craft and Design
Hywel Prytherch Roberts-Young Artist Scholarship
Ray Hole Architects -The Gold Medal for Architecture
Jeff Kahane and Associates- Plaque of Merit for Architecture
Sian Seys-Evans-Architecture Scholarship
Osi Rhys Osmond - Ifor Davies Award
Lowri Davies - Peoples Choice
Many of the works in the exhibition are for sale. For information about Arts Council of Wales and the Collectorplan scheme please visit: www.artswales.org.uk or call 0845 8734 900.
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