Hidden Voices of Power is a new exhibition at the Elysium Gallery in Swansea and features Joel Morris, Melissa Rodrigues, Anna Smith, Nathan Thomas and Jasmine Violet and uses their work to tell the powerful stories which explore black bi-racial talent as artists trained and living in Wales.
The collective is led by Nathan Thomas, assisted by Melissa Rodrigues, both neurodivergent artists from the BME community who hope “to become the role models we never had growing up in Wales as diverse young artists.”
The exhibition, which is in the Oriel gallery 3 at elysium and runs alongside other exhibitions featuring Fatoumata Diabaté (Galleries 1 and 2) and Laurentina Miksys (Art in the Bar) is accompanied by an explainer video providing an accessible format for neurodivergent visitors and creating neurodiverse friendly exhibitions.
About the artists:
Joel Morris is an artist based in south-west Wales who practices photorealism in charcoal, mainly consisting of both traditional and dynamic portraits of people and animals.
University of Wales Trinity St David graduate Melissa Rodrigues is also Swansea-based and a founding member of the Art Collective Axe Head to Everything.
Anna Smith is a qualified teacher who is currently completing her MA in Art at Trinity St David’s. Ana is a landscape painter and film maker.
Nathan Thomas is a Swansea-based artist with a Masters in Moving Image from Trinity St David’s. Nathan is second generation British Jamaican; his grandparents having arrived in the UK on the Windrush, and his father is from the South Wales Valleys.
Jasmine Violet began their professional artistic journey in the Welsh art scene after finishing art school in 2020.
“We wanted to come together to explore black and biracial identity in Wales through our work and to create the kind of exhibition we never saw ourselves growing up as black and biracial artists now living and working in Wales,” said Nathan. “The artists are passionate for people to see their work and hope to develop a voice for black artists and reach a large audience who can see and appreciate their work. As a group of emerging artists trained in Wales, we feel the work in galleries around the UK does not reflect our heritage or biracial identity. Just 2,000 artworks in the UK’s permanent art collections are by Black artists – most of which aren’t on display. Two thousand may seem a considerable number, but the National Gallery alone has over 2,300 works and there are over 1,400 galleries in the UK. Success for us is about building awareness of the collective and developing a voice for black and biracial artists in and from Wales. We want to reach into our own communities and create a very different audience for visual art, sharing work drawn from our own stories and those of the black and minority ethnic communities we belong to in Wales and embracing neurodiverse audiences.”
For more information visit the Elysium Gallery website.
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Hidden Voices of Power Exhibition Elysium Gallery Hidden Voices of Power Exhibition Elysium Gallery