The latest exhibition, recently opened at Oriel Mwldan is a photographic show, titled ‘To build a Home’ showing portraits, from photographer Amanda Jackson. These are images of people living at the Lammas Eco Village in the Preseli Hills. A defining feature of Jackson’s photographic work is that she has a particular interest, indeed a passion as she herself expresses it, for capturing portraits of those who live in situations on the edges of mainstream society. Needless to say that is exactly what one would be likely to find at Lammas the experimental eco-village in the Preselis. For those who have not come across Lammas before, this exhibition is a wonderful way to be introduced into the small growing village, dedicated to a natural way of life, and an ecological attitude to building. Each of the photographs tells an individual story, and simultaneously there is a visible connection between them. This has something to do with the glimpses of architectural background; the similarity in the kind of building which is being put together. Whether finished or unfinished, quantities of natural wood used for internal building are on view, and in the external environment, nature in its many shades of green is also present. There is no doubt at all that these people are living in a rural environ, and using the environ as inspiration for their built designs. When it comes to the faces of the people themselves, captured in some of them is what might be termed a wary expression, like Elfie, the girl whose face stares back without blinking, and seems to be uncertain whether or not to welcome the viewer into the place which however unusual it may be to them, is her home. In fact there is even a latent hostility, in others, like The Beekeepers, a kind of ‘keep your distance’ expression. However, as far as bees are concerned, keeping one’s distance is probably a wise move. And whatever the expressions these people wear, they have all been willing to sit for the camera’s eye so their apparent wariness may simply be in the eye of the beholder. It could also be more about wanting the mood of the show to be serious; like saying ‘We are not all here just to have a laugh. Our purpose, in our experimental living is to raise our consciousness as well as to be good to the planet.’ Presumably under instructions not to smile in order to avoid looking like holiday snaps, the net effect is that everyone looks somehow steadfast, even purposeful.
Open daily from 10.00am showing until 4 October at Oriel Mwldan.