Weird and Wonderful Wales: The Water Towel Mural
A 50ft high mural celebrating Welsh legends has been completed on the iconic Grade II listed Water Tower outside Cardiff Central Railway Station.
This stunning mural has been unveiled by Literature Wales, in partnership with Cadw, as part of ‘Weird & Wonderful Wales’, a six-stop tour of Wales which draws on some of the strange and fantastic stories contained in the Land of Legends website (www.landoflegends.wales). The mural has been illustrated by artist Pete Fowler who is best known for Super Furry Animals’ most iconic album covers. Its vivid graphics celebrate and showcase the mythical past of Wales, providing visitors and residents with an eye-catching mural asserting Wales’ contemporary creativity. Commissioned to celebrate Wales’ Year of Legends in 2017, the mural will be in place throughout 2018, when Cardiff will see streams of visitors from all across the globe for events such as the Volvo Ocean Race.
The mural comprises images from Welsh myths and legends, particularly inspired by The Mabinogion; the ancient oral stories of Wales which were written down in the Middle Ages. We have the giant Bendigeidfran ('Blessed Crow’) – King of Britain – who fought the Irish and whose severed head talked to his men for eighty-seven years. We have the maiden Blodeuwedd, who was conjured from flowers by two magicians as a wife for Lleu, but was transformed again into an owl as punishment for trying to murder her husband. There is the goddess Rhiannon, whose horse-riding skills far surpasses those of the best horsemen of Pwyll, Lord of Dyfed. There is the noble stag, slain by the ghostly hounds of Arawn – Lord of Annwn (the Otherworld). And we have the crow, which features throughout the stories as a harbinger of death.
Weird & Wonderful Wales
The Water Tower Mural celebrates Weird & Wonderful Wales in the heart of our capital city.
Last autumn, leading Welsh artist Pete Fowler and 30 guest writers including Patrick Jones, Sophie McKeand and Aneirin Karadog, headed off on tour to explore some of Wales’ weirdest stories, with a little help from Mabinogion expert Professor Sioned Davies. Stopping at six Cadw sites in Conwy, Gwynedd, Caerphilly, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Torfaen, Pete and the guest writers worked with local community members to create new works of art based on wonderful tales from nearby. Eye-catching murals by Pete and new literary retellings will be installed at each location, drawing on all things creepy, haunting, tragic and mystical – see www.landoflegends.wales for more information on the tour. Artists received over £34,000 through involvement in this project.
Literature Wales Chief Executive Lleucu Siencyn said: “We’re thrilled to showcase Wales’ distinctive and compelling myths in such an eye-catching location. To be able to share our stories and literary heritage with thousands of visitors to Wales is a fantastic opportunity, and we’re grateful to all our partners for helping us do this in a contemporary and accessible way.”
Limited edition giclée prints of the Water Tower Mural, signed by Pete Fowler, are available from www.landoflegends.wales/location/water-tower-cardiff-central-railway-station. Profits will be used for creative workshops with marginalised communities.
This project sees Literature Wales working in partnership with Allotment Creative Development Services, Cadw, Network Rail, Arriva Trains Wales and Gardners. The project is funded by Cadw, the Welsh Government through the Visit Wales Tourism Product Innovation Fund in support of Year of Legends 2017, the Foyle Foundation and FOR Cardiff.