Colony 13 Art Event
To refer to ‘Colony 13’ the Art Event currently happening in Cardigan, as an exhibition would be to reduce it down to considerably less than what it actually is. This immensely interesting spread of disciplines and media contributed by forty contemporary artists currently working in Wales is a fantastic opportunity to see work in Cardigan of the highest calibre in the world of contemporary art. Some is on show in the Bridge Warehouse, some in the Fforest Tipi on Cambrian Quay, and some in the 4CG Market Space.
Lee Williams, an art lecturer from Port Talbot, who created Colony is organising it out of a genuine passion for Contemporary Art. ‘It is really important to see where contemporary art is going’ he says. ‘For anyone with an interest in the arts this is a not to be missed opportunity.’
The event offers a fascinating insight into modern art, currently being produced. There are videos, recycled creations, installations, happenings in sound, and the event runs until the end of August. Opening times vary so it is advisable to consult the website www.colonyprojects.co.uk for details on sites, dates, opening times and maps.
Art on the Street
As part of Colony 13 Penny Jones and Hilary Ramsden last Saturday trawled through the streets of Cardigan with a washing line of shirts, reciting a 16th century poem in Welsh and English about a woman washing her lover’s shirt under Cardigan Bridge. They invited members of the public to loan their lover’s shirts for a washing performance on 15 September at Cardigan Bridge. They need the shirts by 24 August when they will be pegging them onto their washing line. Their venue is an inflatable sofa which they will take around Cardigan and the Quay’s festival.
The Visible Voice work of the Gwrando Collective, Lou Laurens and Jacob Whittaker, is on display as part of the Colony 13 exhibits in the Bridge Warehouse so for people who have taken part in contributing their voices to the project, there is now the opportunity to watch the mystery of their own visible voices on screen and listen to the music created by themselves at the meetings which were filmed and recorded.
Recently a friend asked me if I had to make a kind of desert island discs list, but with the ten best books I had ever read, what would they be. Several books came to mind amongst them was Prichard’s Nose by Sam Adams. This is the review I did for it which appeared in the Tivyside in 2009 and now I am rereading the book, and loving it more than the first time.
A Man with No Nose
The latest fictional offering from publishers Y Lolfa does not read like a debut novel, though that is what it is. Prichard’s Nose by Sam Adams has all the assured construction and style of a long experienced writer. It is a beautifully crafted piece of work with a depth of humanity and considered observation which mark it out as the work of a genuinely exceptional talent.
Offering not one story, but two, cleverly interwoven so that each is as arresting as the other, we are carried first into the mind of Martin, the researcher seeking the Prichard of history. This Prichard is the man who wrote Twm Shon Catti, and died in Swansea impoverished and without a nose and through an extraordinary piece of luck Martin falls across Prichard’s attempt at an autobiography. Here the second story begins and in this the author has excelled, constructing a totally believable historic document issuing from the 1800’s which carries the reader back in time and offers detailed and eloquent descriptions of Prichard’s early years amongst the rural poor in Wales, and his later adventures in London, where he became part of the theatrical world of the day. Such a boldly stylish reconstruction of the period requires not only a powerful imagination but a genuine awareness of history, all of which is evident in abundance throughout the book.
Despite the title the mystery of the nose is merely hinted at, and remains unanswered until the last. No-one, it seems has any idea where Prichard lost it. All that is known is that when he died he was wearing a false, wax nose held on by a pair of spectacles. But echoing into the modern day world Martin’s wife has a ‘nose job’ and suddenly becomes attractive to other men, an unexpected twist to the tale that lends a connection that is not lingered over but nonetheless increases the reader’s feeling that Martin should be the man to finally be vouchsafed the truth, reward for all his hard work and persistence. That life does not always mirror the fictional certitudes is laid bare at the book’s conclusion. This is a wonderful book and one which deserves the very highest praise.
Prichard’s Nose by Sam Adams is published by Y Lolfa £9.95 at all good bookshops.
The end of the summer holidays and gorgeous weather to take in some out-of-doors art. The event I managed to get to was really different from the average – original in location and in content. It was called :
At the Bank Holiday weekend there was a small, but special, exhibition of work by local artists at Ty Rhos, Nefern. With the title,‘The Garden’ work by Lucy Burns, Seren Stacey, Kate Dunwell, Sam Vicary and Rose Wood was placed around the grounds and the greenhouses and outbuildings which once formed the heart of a thriving garden centre. The environment of genteel semi-dereliction, with distressed buildings almost covered by riotous growth and greenery, provided an unusual and almost historic backdrop for the artwork. Sam Vicary’s bird paintings which were joyful, and demonstrate an interesting style displaying the ‘character’ of the birds, rather than textbook feathers fitted it perfectly; as did Lucy Burns work, with its seemingly mythical content, with wild-looking horses, and the feel of the North American plains. Kate Dunwell’s pieces brought a splash of charming, colourful abstraction replicating the one-time flora which occupied the place in the past and Rose Wood’s video of a concertina cardigan, like Seren Stacey’s photographs added more than a touch of the theatrical to the whole show. Tea and cakes, and sunshine too, made this a memorable show for those who created it, and also for those who attended.
Writing historical novels has been a great experience, both A Court in Splendour and The Bardic Monk, pushed my concentration to get under the skin of characters out of history, either those imagined or those who came from history as we know it.My narrator in both books, Walter Map, was a contemporary of Gerald of Wales, and his own book de Nugis Curialum (Courtiers’ Trifles) is full of odd stories, but only offers small clues to his personality. Research is as necessary to a historical novel as the act of writing it, and I enjoyed it all, but I am also really happy to revert to writing material based in fairly current times, the modern idiom is more straightforward, and no matter how many people tell me that the historical books have a ring of the period about which they are written, I am equally happy writing something from the 20th or 21st century.
Suddenly with the third book in my Grace Series, A Fall from Grace, I am back in my own time, and feeling an ease and spontaneous pleasure with seeing the pages filling up with words, the ideas spilling out and the characters moving toward a satisfying conclusion.
It seems that several people are enjoying the Grace books, and of course for me it would be great if several became more, but I had an email from one of those who has read both those which are available on Amazon Kindle (or Kindle app.for phone or tablet) The Rules of Heaven and A Thorn in the Flesh. This email came with the assertion that in the reader’s opinion that it would make really good television, and they would like to see Grace played by Eleanor Bron, with which I entirely agree, and it has increased my enthusiasm for the work. Could this be the future I ask myself? From thinking I had become a writer of historical novels, to developing the work with a character I originally invented at least fifteen years ago, might there be more of them ahead. I’ll say it here. I would like the Grace series to run to ten books! If I have time of course.