Covid-19 art joins work at the National Library
Three works of art from an Aberystwyth Arts Center exhibition, celebrating the value the arts played during the pandemic, will join the National Library of Wales.
The Oriel Lockdown exhibit was launched when the arts center reopened on June 21, 2021, to celebrate the value the arts played during the time of the pandemic. Over 1,000 Instagram and email submissions were received.
A spokesperson for the arts center said: “With most of us confined to our homes and surrounding areas, a large number of people, including amateur and professional artists, have turned to art and creativity to help them get through the pandemic and the arts center wanted to capture a snapshot of this unprecedented time.
The works chosen by the National Library of Wales for the National Art Collection are the film Studio Island by Manon Awst, Kitchen by Kim James Williams and Tunnel by Alice Forward.
Manon made Studio Island during the first containment in 2020, using what was directly at hand, mainly from her sketchbook and the surrounding landscape. Beth Celyn composed the beautiful soundtrack to accompany the visuals.
“It was amazing to show it in Oriel Lockdown alongside all the other artwork capturing the essence of this weird time in different ways,” Manon said.
“I am honored that the National Library has purchased my work and that it is now part of our national collection.
Kim’s ink drawings speak of time spent watching, of being in the moment becoming a visual journal, celebrating the everyday.
Kim said: “When Aberystwyth Arts Center curator Ffion Rhys called me to tell me that the National Library of Wales had purchased my drawing, ‘Cegin’ to add to the collection of national art of Wales, I was very moved.
“It’s a domestic scene that I’m sure was reproduced all over the country, even the world, as we crouched down and found solace and pleasure in simple domestic events.”
She added: “It is a great privilege to be part of a collection that has inspired me time and time again; all artists rest on the shoulders of the makers and creators before us.
“I am proud to be represented, as part of Welsh history, in our beautiful National Library.
Alice’s drawing, the Tunnel, was loosely based on photographs published in Ioan Lord’s book, Rich Mountains of Lead. Alice started drawing Tunnel in 2019, in a state of deep depression over the causes and effects of Brexit, which ended a few weeks after the first lockdown in March 2020.
An interpretation of the drawing can be like a metaphor for these troubling times.
Alice said: “When I found out that Tunnel had been purchased by Morfudd Bevan for the National Library of Wales, at first I couldn’t believe it. It is such an incredible honor, for it is such a wonderful and important institution, holding the most comprehensive records of Welsh history and culture in the world.
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