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Cardiff Community News South Wales

Cardiff buildings feature in charity memorial art exhibition

ARTWORK by former County Architect John Bethell is to go on display in Llandaff, where he lived most of his life.

John, who was born in Newport, worked on designs for many of Cardiff’s buildings including South Glamorgan County Hall.

He retired in 1991 and began volunteering on the Diocesan board for Llandaff and Monmouth, providing advice on church buildings.

John was involved with the Christian Aid Group in Llandaff from the mid 1970s until his death in 2022. His son, Andrew remembers helping deliver the iconic red envelopes during Christian Aid Week. Additionally, he helped to organise rotas of envelope collectors, count up money, and supported many different fundraising events in Llandaff over the years.

John was also an amateur artist and during his lifetime produced a range of landscapes and architectural style images of buildings, in watercolour, pencil and ink.

These are now going on display later this month at the Parish Hall, in Llandaff.

Andrew Bethell

Andrew said, “When my father died, we decided we’d like to do something with the collection of his work and art books he’d acquired. We spoke to Sue and David Smith, members of the Llandaff Christian Aid Group and friends of Dad’s, and decided to hold an exhibition as a way of sharing memories of Dad, and raising money for Christian Aid.”

Some of the exhibition displays are connected with buildings John was involved with, including the Millennium Centre. John was one of the assessors for the international architectural competition to design the structure.

The collection will include a portfolio of notes on the designs submitted. The winner was Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid, although for various reasons, the design did not go through to completion, and it wasn’t until a few years later a new design for the Millennium Centre went ahead.

Of interest to Cardiff City fans, there are also drawings and paperwork from John’s design for the rebuilding of the Main Stand at the former Ninian Park in 1972-4, which was later demolished to be replaced by the current stadium.

The exhibition will take place from April 27-28, in the Parish Hall just off Llandaff High Street. Proceeds from sales of books and artwork will go to Christian Aid, which works with local partners in some of the most vulnerable communities around the world.

Andrew added, “We’d like to thank Nonna Davydenko, who designed the poster to advertise the event.

“Nonna worked as an art curator in Kiev, in Ukraine, before coming to Cardiff with her younger son in 2022 after the Russian invasion, and being hosted by a family in Llandaff. We’re thrilled Nonna is able to use her skills to help to publicise and curate this exhibition – and her involvement also reminds us why charities like Christian Aid need support to do vital work in so many places around the globe.”