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Sorcha’s Reflection on Artes Mundi 7 Trip

Part B: Explore the arts as an audience member

On a recent visit to Cardiff Museum, there were two exhibits in particular that I found interesting so these are the exhibits I will be talking about in this post. These are Artes Mundi and the ‘worm exhibit’.

The audiences for these are completely different. The ‘worm exhibit’ takes a more child-like stance – as one might be able to tell from the subject of the exhibit itself being worms, whereas Artes Mundi comes across as more minimalistic with its white walls and spacious design. Having said this, Artes does have a ‘children’s section’ wherein children are guided through drawing and colouring on the floor. This is something both exhibits have in common (the ‘worm exhibit’ and Artes’s children’s section), everything is on ‘kid-level’ in the sense that nothing is up really high, but is eye level for children. Within the Artes exhibit itself, there is an element of child-like entertainment. This is through the project by Bedwyr Williams which is a 20 minute video on a loop, where you sit on beanbags and pillows; a project which has a whole room to itself. This is a method also used in a reading section in the ‘worm exhibit’.

Additionally, in the children’s section of Artes Mundi, children and adults alike, have access to tables which display the Artes Mundi’s own app. This app however, leaves much to be desired in that it is in some senses, not relevant to the Artes project and is confusing to use.

The messages that these exhibits are trying to convey presents another point of contrast. The very title of the ‘worm exhibit’ shows exactly what the exhibit is about: worms and everything about them. In contrast to this, the Artes Mundi project with its minimalistic theme, also seems to extend to any information to the public. The app and also the handbook that are available give little information about the exhibit as a whole is about: migration. This I must admit, once someone tells you that this is the message of the Artes project, it becomes quite clear! Perhaps the whole idea of the exhibit is for us to make our own interpretations and leave the message to us, that in discussing it, we can better understand it. Something which the app and handbook can feed into; giving us background information about the artists for example.

In all, the two exhibits are completely different to each other due to their target audiences and their key messages but each have aspects which cater to everyone.

Nia’s Reflections on the ‘Creating Sancutary’ Exhibition

Part B:

I chose to visit the Creating Sanctuary exhibition because all the photographs were all of volunteers from Wales who are working with refugees – this was particularly relevant having just completed the Stories/Straeon Project where we looked at charities and volunteering in Cardiff during the First World War, including many stories of Belgian refugees. As well as 18 portraits, the exhibition also included quotes from the volunteers talking about their experiences, work and hopes with regards to refugees in Wales. One of the quotes which I found most affecting described the frenzied atmosphere as refugees arrived at a train station – it sounded like something straight from a history book, rather than 21st century Wales.

All of the portraits were taken by photographer Nigel Pugh, and in each picture the subjects were photographed alone. While the quotes from the volunteers all seemed to mention people they had met through their charity work, the photographs focussed on their isolation; a volunteer lying on a bed with a child’s book, but no children; sitting alone in an empty, generic waiting room; or sitting at a table laid with food, looking out of a window as if expecting guests. This had the effect of stressing the frustrations of the volunteers, many of whom discussed dealing with bureaucracy, feeling powerless and exasperation with others who are not involved and aware of the struggles refugees face. I felt the isolation in the photographs was also a comment on the current political climate, with so much backlash against refugees in the news at present.

Wyndham Street Centre – Step into the Past

The Stories/Straeon team will be hosting a community event on 25 March 2017 to showcase some of our work. Join us for a day filled with activities, food, music, and fun for all ages!

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Bydd y tîm stories/straeon yn cynnal digwyddiad i’r cymuned ar Mawrth 25ain 2017 i arddangos eu waith. Ymunwch a ni am ddydd o hwyl wedi’i lenwi gyda gweithgareddau, bwyd a cerddoriaeth ar gyfer pob oed!

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25 March 2017
11:00-15:00
Wyndham Street Day Centre
3-5 Wyndham St
Cardiff CF11 6DQ

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