In the latest article collaboration between Wales Arts Review and the Western Mail, writer Kandace Siobhan Walker explores the power of speculative art and wonders what it might mean for the future of Wales as a nation.
Where are we, when we imagine the future of Wales? In an independent country? In a greener country? A richer one? While government ministers tend to be frustratingly evasive when asked about the future, artists and writers working in the genres of speculative fiction and art have always questioned hegemony and sought to build alternate realities. This is the work and power of speculative art, its capacity for world-making. And this questioning, in fact, is at the very heart of the Welsh political imagination.
When Ifan, the narrator and protagonist of Islwyn Ffowc Elis’ novel Wythnos yng Nghymru Fydd (1957), or A Week in Future Wales, arrives in the year 2033, he discovers an alternate-reality utopia, a romantic, independent Wales where almost everybody speaks Welsh, the government has abolished its military and the arts are as well-funded as the sciences. The central plot of Elis’ novel, considered one of the earliest time-travel narratives written in the Welsh language, is structured around the uncertainty of Wales’ political future.
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