Three pieces of artwork from an Aberystwyth Arts Centre exhibition, celebrating the value that the arts played over the pandemic, will be joining the National Library of Wales.
The Oriel Lockdown exhibition launched when the arts centre reopened on 21 June 2021, to celebrate the value that the arts played over the period of the pandemic. Over 1,000 submissions on Instagram and email were received.
A spokesperson for the arts centre said: “With most of us confined to our houses and the local vicinity, a huge amount of people including amateur and professional artists were turning to art and creativity to see them through the pandemic and the arts centre wanted to capture a snapshot of this unprecedented time.”
The artworks chosen by the National Library of Wales, for the National Art Collection, are Studio Island film by Manon Awst, Kitchen by Kim James Williams, and Tunnel by Alice Forward.
Manon made Studio Island during the first lockdown in 2020, using what was directly to hand, mainly from her sketchbook and the surrounding landscape. Beth Celyn composed the beautiful soundtrack to accompany the visuals.
“It was wondering to show it in Oriel Lockdown next to all the other artworks capturing the essence of that strange period in different ways,” Manon said.
“I’m honoured that the National Library has purchased my work and that it’s now part of our National Collection.”
Kim’s ink drawings are about time spent looking, being in the moment becoming a visual diary, celebrating the everyday.
Kim said: “When Aberystwyth Arts Centre curator Ffion Rhys called me to say that the National Library of Wales had purchased my drawing, ‘Cegin’ to add to Wales’ National Art Collection, I was quite emotional.
“It’s a domestic scene that I’m sure was being replicated all over the country, even the world, as we hunkered down and found solace and pleasure in simple domestic events.”
She added: “It is a great privilege to be part of a collection which has inspired me over and over again; all artists stand on the shoulders of the makers and creators before us.
“I’m proud to be represented, as part of Welsh history, in our beautiful National Library.”
Alice’s drawing, the Tunnel, was loosely based on some photographs published in Ioan Lord’s book Rich Mountains of Lead. Alice set about drawing Tunnel in 2019, in a state of deep depression about the causes and effects of Brexit, which was completed a few weeks after the first lockdown in March 2020.
An interpretation of the drawing can be as a metaphor for these troubling times.
Alice said: “When I discovered that Tunnel had been purchased by Morfudd Bevan for the National Library of Wales, at first I couldn’t quite believe it. It is such an amazing honour, as it is such a wonderful and important institution, holding the most exhaustive archive of Welsh history and culture anywhere in the world.”