Local And International Art Aplenty During Cardiff Arts Festival

By Caroline Lewis | 07 October 2005
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Shows a photo of a man with a white mask covering the lower half of his face, which is white, with a wide mouth open at either side revealing yellow teeth.

Morrendo de rir (Dying of laughter), by Marcos Chaves, installation, 2002. Featured in On Arriving and Leaving. Courtesy g39.

As part of the Cardiff 2005 Centenary celebrations, a month-long programme of special art exhibitions is happening in the city. The Cardiff Contemporary Visual Arts Festival is running throughout October, with events at many venues and sites, featuring more than 200 artists.

The first festival of its kind in Cardiff, it provides a great opportunity to discover the state of contemporary art in the Welsh capital. It also complements Wales’ representation at the 51st Venice Biennale and the announcement of the shortlist for the 2006 Artes Mundi International Art Prize. The shortlist for the £40,000 prize includes Sue Williams, who lives and works in Wales.

“We are absolutely delighted to have been able to bring together and support such a wide variety of visual arts events to celebrate our centenary,” said Yvette Vaughan-Jones, Director of the Cardiff 2005 cultural programme. “The breadth and depth of the work being displayed is quite extraordinary, with national and international names involved alongside local artists.”

“This is the first time art has been brought to the people on this scale and I hope that this will allow everyone to appreciate the wealth of talent in our city,” she added.

Shows a black and white photo of lots of motorbikes in what appears to be a cave.

Naples, Italy, by Raffaela Mariniello, 2001. Courtesy of the artist and Ffotogallery, Cardiff.

The festival takes the character of the capital city as a major theme – its development from a thriving centre of industry and commerce into a 21st-century cosmopolitan and cultural hub with an internationally recognised arts scene. Special attention is paid to Cardiff’s international links, with many events involving artists from far and wide.

The city’s shipping industry, which boomed in Victorian days but has now faded, is the inspiration for Gallery 39’s On Leaving and Arriving. Until October 21, ship containers in the city centre will hold films and installations dealing with notions of displacement and crossing thresholds – see www.g39.org for a map of locations. The nine artists are all from cities linked to Cardiff’s historical trading routes, and include Heidi Morstand (Norway), Shilpa Gupta (India) and Joao Onofre (Portugal).

Siteations takes in work by artists from Latvia, Poland, Ireland, Spain and Iceland as well as Wales, which will be created at Flat Holm and other sites in the city during the whole of October. The BayArt Gallery will act as a focal point and information centre for the collaborative project, and will exhibit some of the works until October 13.

Shows an abstract artwork featuring a cartoon-like multicoloured pile of shapes.

By Andy Fung. Courtesy Cardiff Festival of Creative Technology.

Italian photographer Raffaela Mariniello is exhibiting for the first time in the UK at Ffotogallery, until November 5. Her meticulously crafted black and white images depict urban scenes of industrial activity, particularly seaports. The exhibition includes newly commissioned works made in and around Cardiff, with pictures of the Bay being hung alongside Mediterranean scenes.

Welsh industry is celebrated at National Museum and Gallery, too, up until January 2006. Wales at Work features paintings ad watercolours of the industries of Wales from the 18th century to the present day.

Chapter Arts is displaying the theatrical video and photographic work of Olaf Breuning, while tactileBOSCH and More Front Studios are hosting a group show called Coagulation, featuring myriad multimedia practitioners from around the world (both to October 30).

The last two weekends of October will be particularly exciting. October 21 – 23 is Open Studios Weekend, when the artists of Cardiff invite the public to see their work in progress. No need to trudge all over the city, either, as a free bus service will start from the steps of the National Museum & Gallery and run between the studios.

Painting of a tall ship on the quayside of a dock

Barry Docks by William Lionel Wyllie. Courtesy of the National Museums & Galleries of Wales.

The final weekend sees Cardiff’s first Festival of Creative Technology, entitled May You Live In Interesting Times. See the website for venues, times and participants.

Councillor Nigel Howells, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport commented: “Cardiff has a vibrant visual arts scene – from the art studios across the city, internationally acknowledged artist-run galleries such as G39 and tactileBOSCH, and venues such as Chapter and the National Museum and Gallery enhancing further the current cultural profile of the city.”

“Art is important,” he continued, “as it is an expression and observation of our lives and society today, and we can all celebrate the city’s creativity through Cardiff Contemporary.”

The inaugural festival, supported by Cardiff Council and the Millenium Commission’s Urban Cultural Programme, is further boosted by a new map of the city on Artupdate.com, marking out the venues where events are taking place. The map now sits alongside others of London, New York and Venice on the site – an accolade for the Welsh capital.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned: