Welsh icon Max Boyce visited Rhondda Cynon Taf to launch a special art exhibition named after his popular song, Rhondda Grey.
The entertainer opened the collection by five artists at Rhondda Heritage Park who used the Rhondda Valleys as their subject matter. The works went on show on the 25th anniversary of the Miners Strike.
In the 1970’s Max Boyce sang about a child asked to paint the valley by Mrs Davies Art and likened the colour ‘Rhondda Grey’ to that found in the faces of miners. Even though their faces might have been grey their attitude towards life in their vibrant communities was often passionate and full of humanity, which created a complex community to be portrayed by these artists.
The Glyn Neath singer, songwriter and comedian said he was delighted to officially open the exhibition featuring the works of Ceri Barclay, Trefenna Collins, David Rees Davies, Andrew Seabourne Evans and Valerie Ganz who challenge this preconceived notion of greyness in their own inimitable style.
Swansea artist Ceri Barclay is very aware of how the valleys have changed over the years following the removal of the collieries and the coal tips. His work concentrates on dramatic changes to the landscape, depicting the former industrial community with isolated rows of terraced houses nestling amongst the sheep grazed hills.
Neath based artist Trefenna Collins has tried to depict in her work, industry’s legacy on the environment and the communities and wants to portray valley life as it feels today; despite the unemployment; she believes there is a future full of colour, humour and expectancy.
Rhondda Grey Exhibition Launched
David Rees Davies’ watercolours are snapshots, of memory and observation, events and emotions of a child’s upbringing and recollections of life in a small Welsh community. Freelance photographer Andrew Seabourne Evans attempts to illustrate a bright and optimistic perspective with his images in this show. He combines film and digital media to portray a positive and colourful vision of life in the Rhondda today.
The work of Swansea artist Valerie Ganz reflects much of the coal industry that once dominated South Wales. She gained a rare insight into the mining industry, during the eighties, by working alongside miners above ground and at the coalface. Her experience was further enhanced in 1990, when she was commissioned by British Opencast to study at three open cast sites in South Wales.
The considerable changes that have occurred in the Rhondda Valleys following its transition from an industrial area has provided a rich source of inspiration for successive generations of artists. This offers different themes to be explored and is open to multiple interpretations. As a result this exhibition portrays highly individual responses from five talented Welsh artists highlighting how differently the Rhondda can be visually interpreted.
“All those years ago Max Boyce very clearly captured an image of the industrial Rhondda Valleys in his songwriting. Now he’s back in the valley to launch an art exhibition filled with more than just greyness, it’s vibrant, colourful and attractive to the eye,” said Cllr Robert Bevan, Cabinet Member for Culture and Recreation.
“The exhibition gives a series of very fascinating perspectives of how the Rhondda is seen through the eyes of all five different artists and I can think of no better location to launch this collection of work than at the Heritage Park, itself an iconic image of a once thriving coal industry.”
Rhondda Grey? can be seen at Rhondda Heritage Park until 26 April. The Gallery is open daily 10am-6pm. (Closed Mondays until Easter). For further information on the exhibition, contact Jan Pennell, Gallery Co-ordinator or Nicola Newhams, Marketing Officer on 01443 682036. For more information about Rhondda Heritage Park, log onto their website at www.rhonddaheritagepark.com/