Tag Archives: #AUOBCymru

What’s That When It’s At Home?

24 Nov

I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for decades, just getting on with it, doing my art, mostly sketchbooks from reality, life drawing and printmaking, while working with marginalised people – the homeless and the drug and alcohol dependent. As far as I was concerned, these were not two different things, but are inter-dependent. When people asked what I did, it took ages to explain. Now, apparently, I’m a socially engaged artist. So there we are.

Afghan refugee children

It isn’t just about how I integrate living as an artist with working with people at the edge of society – it also informs the artwork I do. For example, I made this monotype (above) from my first visit to Pakistan over a decade ago now. It was a relatively peaceful period and we were visiting the Khyber Pass and I was inspired by Afghan refugees travelling back to their homes.

walking to greenham

In my sketchbooks, I draw from real life, both the ordinary that’s around me every day and the special events like demonstrations and meetings. Here’s a drawing I did on the march to commemorate Greenham Common back last year.

Here Be Dragons small

Sometimes my work is directly political, like “Here Be Dragons” that was commissioned last year by Sky Arts TV channel.

Flag final

And the flag of Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd designed for the AUOB Cymru marches.

b

Recently, I’ve become an artist-in-residence and researcher in the FIRE Laboratory in Swansea University’s Department of Bioscience, working at the interface between art and environmental science.

Or I just draw people getting on with their lives on the streets of Swansea….

 

So when people ask what I do, now I say “I’m a socially engaged artist” and they go “So what’s that when it’s at home then?”

 

And it takes ages to explain …..

Reinventing An Icon: Part 2

1 Aug

roughs

 

I did some research on medieval clothing to try and picture Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd for the flag design I was working on.   Unmarried women wore their hair in elaborate braids but as soon as they married, they adopted a veil-like headdress.

Medieval Clothing

Gwenllian was married at 16 so I tried out a few ideas based on a typical headdress of the early 1100s. It didn’t do it for me. I think the medieval clothing erects a barrier between her and us. Heroes and legends are constantly changed, updated, made relevant for each age and I wanted people here and now in the 21st century to identify with her.

 

veiled

The medieval Gwenllian…. graphite on paper

Norman Invaders

I wanted to know what she would be like if I could go back in time to meet her. I tried to get to know her, what she was like in real life. She was a woman in her mid-30s when she was murdered by the Norman invaders and a mother of 5. She was great Lady of a castle and an educated and gracious diplomat.

Lived as an Outlaw

She fought for her people and her nation and lived as an outlaw. Although she was recognised as a beauty, she wasn’t young; she was a mature, strong woman with a lot of confidence, someone accessible to modern people, someone we would respond to if we saw her on the street – not someone from the distant and unfamiliar past.

Back to the drawing board ……

 

30257333._SX318_

 

Gwenllian was suggested by Christine Moore of the YesCymru Bridgend group as the subject of a fourth flag to be carried on the Independence march in Caernarfon on July 27th organised by AUOB Cymru, a non-party political, non-partisan organisation. The flags and banner have been donated by Charles Ashburner of Grŵp Baner Cymru.

 

Grwp Baner Cymru

Photo from Grŵp Baner Cymru

 

And he’s now producing Gwenllian flags….

 

 

%d bloggers like this: