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Community Neath Port Talbot News South Wales

Campaign group calls on artists to take part in independence-inspired art competition

A CAMPAIGN group is calling on artists to submit their masterpieces to an independence-inspired competition.

YesCymru, which is campaigning for an independent Wales, is encouraging submissions from artistic talent in the area for the Art of Independence.

The competition andexhibition, which is being organised by the YesCymru Penybont ar Ogwr branch will be held at the Queen Street Art Gallery, in Neath.

The competition will be judged by top professional artists Iwan Bala, Bethan Ash and Claire Hiett.

The exhibition will open on Saturday, November 2 and it will run until Saturday, November 30.

Bethan Ash, who is based in Neath, runs both Queen Street Gallery and Studio 40 Contemporary Art Centre in the town.

She has won international awards for her work and exhibits it worldwide. Her art quilts can be found in Museum collections in the UK and USA including the Museum of Art and Design (MAD), New York.

Bethan is the author of two books – Vibrant Quilt Collage, USA publishers and Instinctive Quilt Art, Batsford UK.

Iwan Bala is an established artist, writer and lecturer who was raised in Gwyddelwern, near Corwen, in Denbighshire, and was born in Sarnau, near Bala.

He has held solo exhibitions annually since 1990, studied fine art at Cardiff College of Art before going on to gain an MA in fine art from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff.

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He participated in many group exhibitions in Wales and abroad and is represented in public and private collections. In 2009 his work was exhibited in four Chinese cities. As well as being a frequent lecturer on contemporary art in Wales he as published books and essays on the subject. He is cited in most published compilations on contemporary art in Wales.

After lecturing in fine art for 15 years Claire Hiett pursued a freelance career. Her work in the area of community engagement in Bridgend, Neath and Port Talbot led her to a career as a Creative Wellbeing Practitioner.

She views art not only as a medium of expression but also as a medium for understanding the self, each other, our lives and the wider community. As an artist, she is inspired by the sense of well-being achieved by being in and interacting with nature

YesCymru Chair Phyl Griffiths said: “We are very excited in YesCymru about this competition and exhibition and we can’t wait to see the art that will be on display.  

“Wales is without doubt an artistic nation that is brimming with talent and this is a fantastic opportunity for artists to get their work showcased in front of a new audience.

“The power of art should not be underestimated. It has the power to inform, inspire and to change perspectives

“The arts are an integral part of any nation and play a crucial role in forming its identity so it is vital that we support and foster it in Wales.

“Art helps us to tell the story of who we are, and this is an opportunity for us to tell the story about the free, fair, ambitious and independent nation we would like to see.

“With our category for students this is a fantastic opportunity for a new generation of artistic talent in Wales to make its mark.

“We are incredibly grateful to our dedicated team that is working hard to make this competition and exhibition happen and to our brilliant judges Iwan Bala, Bethan Ash and Claire Hiett.”

“We hope artists across Wales will get inspired and inspire others.”

YesCymru Penybont ar Ogwr Project Manager, Christine Moore, said: “Fighting for Independence is as much about artists and artworks as it is about politicians and politics. Historically, artists have played a critical role in mobilising populations and developing national pride and identity.

“Welsh artists have a key role to play in the IndyWales movement, utilising their work as a medium to express their views on the world around them.

“In an increasingly visual age, art can and should be a galvanising force in Wales in the fight for self-determination.”

The judges will select up to 80 pieces for the exhibition in addition to the prize winners.

The closing date for sending in images and entry forms is Saturday, September 16, which is Owain Glyndŵr Day.

The Art of Independence exhibition is an open submission, which means anyone can enter. 

For more information please visit: https://art-of-independence.wales