Artist Network Wales: Collaboration is the Word

At the Elysium gallery in Swansea, collaboration will be the keyword as a new visual arts initiative gets underway. The second of a series of exhibitions and networking events is bringing together Artist Studio networks from across Wales to create a platform for sharing skills, instigating creative conversations and nurturing new projects.

Artist: Lynne Jones

We’re from further North than you is an exhibition and networking event which will showcase the work of Welsh artists from CALL (Culture Action Llandudno), CARN (Caernarfon Regional Artists network) and Undegun Studios in Wrexham. This follows on from last years exhibition We’re from further South than you in north Wales by Swansea’s elysium studio artists.

This unique and lively event, which takes place at the Elysium gallery from Friday August 23 until Saturday, September 21, will be a mixture of talks, activities and discussions ranging from skills-sharing, critiques of work, talks by major arts organisations’ directors and an ideas symposium that will build connections between north and south Wales artists to encourage future collaborations. The aim of Artist Network Wales is to contribute to the sharing of expertise, research and ideas across artists and galleries who are kept apart geographically in Wales.

Artist: Mike Murray

“It is incredibly important the arts organisations in Wales work together to showcase what a vibrant and talented arts community we have flourishing here, but rarely spills out across the border and internationally,” said Elysium gallery director and curator Jonathan Powell. “It’s time there was some joined up thinking to create more opportunities for our artists but also empower them to take the next step to create and showcase work that is regarded further afield, attracts new audiences to the arts and valued by our peers. Artists really do have the power to change things and I hope regular events like this will light a creative fire to make things happen.”

Artist: Veronica Calarco

Mike Murray is an artist who has worked with a number of artist-led groups in both north and south Wales. He spoke about the importance of such an initiative to artists. “In order to sustain and develop creative practice in Wales it is important that we have a properly structured network that is accessible to artists from the different artistic communities. The development of the network will not only develop the quality of Welsh talent; it will also share the opportunities available in Wales and further afield for Welsh artists.

Marja Bonada, from Wrexham’s Undegun, said: “As well as curator, I am one of the studio holders at Undegun Arts, so I know how valuable a space like ours is to artists and many other people in and around Wrexham. We offer a safe space for people to be creative, to make art and music however they feel they want to. Towns in Wales are sometimes not very well connected, so too often, our creativity doesn’t get far outside Wrexham. Events like this play a vital role in enabling artists to share ideas and learn from each other. Big thanks to Elysium Gallery for hosting this event.”

Llandudno artists Emily-Jane Hillman said arts are a vital part of life. “They help us stop, look, see and think more clearly across a frenetic and racing digital universe,” she says. “In an increasingly secular society, and embedded in community, the arts help bind us together in our common humanity by pointing up our deeper selves and contributing to meaning. In Wales, and as part of a national identity expressed in and through the arts, the opportunity that this mutual exhibition affords us is to explore our differences but common aims across the nation; it represents an exciting way to learn from each other and express who we are to each other and to the world”

But this won’t be the end; the next Artist Network Wales event will take place somewhere else in Wales in 2020.

Artist: Emily-Jane Hillman

Exhibiting artists:

CARN: Rita Ann | Veronica Calarco | Gill Collier | Llyr Davies | Morgan Griffith | Gareth Griffith | Rebecca F Hardy | Justine McGregor | Anthony Morris | Mike Murray | Joe Roberts | Gwen Vaughan | Alan Whitfield | Susan Williams

CALL: Trish Bermingham | Emily – Jane Hillman | Pea Restall | Alana Tyson

Undegun Arts: Marja Bonada | Rona Campbell | Katie Cyfenw | Deborah Dalton | David Lloyd Edwards | Louise Griffin | Melanie Hayes | Gary Jackson | Lynne Jones | Keith Lacey | Sophia Leadill | Georgia Nielson | Jasmine Roberts | Julie Rogers-Owen | James Story | David Williams

Preview: Friday, August 23, 7pm

Networking event: Saturday, August 24th (Including Artist talks, group discussions and a tour of local galleries and the Elysium artist studios)

Exhibition continues until Saturday, September 21.

Gallery open Tues – Sat 12 – 7pm.

Where: Elysium gallery, 210 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1PE