Support our Nation today - please donate here

Children’s artwork takes pride of place alongside Picasso at Welsh gallery

05 Mar 2024 7 minute read
Artwork created by local families takes pride of place alongside works by Picasso in the first exhibition of the national contemporary art gallery for Wales

It’s not unusual for a child’s artwork to take pride of place on a family fridge, however toddlers and children in Aberystwyth are set to have their artistic endeavours displayed alongside some of the world’s most famous artists – including works by Picasso – in the first exhibition from the new national contemporary art gallery for Wales.

Co-curated by four local families, the free of charge Teulu/Family exhibition will open at Aberystwyth Arts Centre opened on the weekend (March 2) and will showcase ceramics and animation work created by children and families, alongside works by international artists such as Pablo Picasso and Welsh artists including Ceri Richards and Mary Lloyd Jones.

Teulu is the first exhibition of the national contemporary art gallery for Wales, as it announces the capital development of its nine network galleries. The work to establish the network of galleries across Wales is due to complete at the end of March 2025. It forms part of the key commitment of the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government and the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru. The commitment is being made possible through a collaboration between three partners: Arts Council of Wales, Amgueddfa Cymru and the National Library of Wales.

A dispersed model aims to bring Wales’ national contemporary art collection to communities across the country, free to all, with the nine network galleries confirmed as:

Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea
Mostyn, Llandudno
Newport Museum & Art Gallery
Oriel Davies, Newtown
Oriel Myrddin, Carmarthen
Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Pwllheli
Ruthin Craft Centre, Ruthin
STORIEL, Bangor.

Partners are currently collaborating on the establishment of this national flagship project for Wales; designed to widen access to Wales’ publicly owned art collections and support artists currently living and working in Wales by providing associated commissioning and exhibiting opportunities.

A new online resource Celf ar y Cyd continues to grow as part of the national contemporary art gallery for Wales. This gives instant access to a digitised collection of the nation’s contemporary art, accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

As part of the ‘art for everyone’ ethos of the new contemporary art partnership, its first exhibition aims to break down the barriers that can sometimes prevent younger audiences from enjoying and taking part in the arts.

Artwork created by local families takes pride of place alongside works by Picasso in the first exhibition of the national contemporary art gallery for Wales

Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden said: “It’s very exciting news that the first exhibition under the national contemporary art gallery partnership is now open to the public. The national collection belongs to everyone in Wales and this new model will allow people to explore the collection within their own communities.

“Teulu is an excellent way to start the project with the public being truly at the heart of deciding what is part of the exhibition.”

Speaking about the first exhibition, National Contemporary Art Gallery Wales Chair, Mandy Williams-Davies said: “Seeing the work of Aberystwyth families alongside some of the greatest artists of the modern age, including of some of Wales’ most popular and established living artists, captures the spirit of what we want to achieve with the launch of a national contemporary art gallery for Wales.

“Wales has both a unique history and a future in flux. Contemporary art can help us confront the big questions about who we are as a nation, what’s important to us and where we’re going. But it can also be fun, unstuffy, and open to everyone, and this first exhibition has that in abundance.

She continued: “Contemporary works from the national collection will be loaned and exhibited across this network; artists’ commissions and outreach activity will engage communities locally and nationally and collaboration across the network of partners is set to increase opportunities for sector development and for public interaction with visual art.”

Indie, 4, in a ceramics workshop as part of Teulu

Designated Member, Sian Gwenllian, said: “The Teulu/Family exhibition is a fantastic way to celebrate the launch of Wales’s newest national institution – the national contemporary art gallery.

“This major project takes an important step forward with this exhibition. It symbolises the new approach we are taking to embedding the arts into every aspect of Welsh life, making our national collections more accessible and meaningful to people, children and communities across our country.”

The families involved in Teulu were invited to a series of workshops, galleries and museums including Amgueddfa Cymru, Cardiff and the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and were solely responsible for selecting the prestigious pieces of art to be included in the exhibition. The pieces selected, which include Vase zoomorphe, la Tarasque by Picasso, will be on loan for the exhibition from the national collection, alongside other works from the Aberystwyth School of Art collection.

The free-to-attend exhibition includes photography, illustrations, print, painting and ceramics on the themes of spending time together, being in nature and looking after the environment. The exhibition will also include the display of an impressive interactive sculpture, designed and created by architectural artists Jenny Hall and Karina Kolesnikaite from Machynlleth, in collaboration with textile artist Ella Louise Jones.

Petra Nelson from Bronant near Tregaron took part in the Teulu project with her husband, Shane, and three children, Flynn, seven, Mabli, five, and Neli, two. She said: “I’ve loved being able to go ‘behind the scenes’ in the National Museum Cardiff, the National Library of Wales and the Aberystwyth School of Art, seeing all the wonderful art and realising how different everyone’s tastes in art is.”

Elin Vaughan Crowley, artist and project coordinator at Aberystwyth Arts Centre said: “Our intention was to give the families a sense of ownership in terms of decisions relating to exhibition curation, such as what kind of art was on display, what kind of space to create and how to welcome and engage people who want to visit the gallery but might have thought it wasn’t a place for them in the past.”

Ffion Rhys, Curator at Aberystwyth Arts Centre said: “This exhibition has been a real journey for us, and I would like to wholeheartedly thank the families that have taken part- we have learnt so much from them, and the hope is that this learning will enable more families to have access to the arts- to take part in and enjoy. Thank you to the Arts Council of Wales for funding this project and to our partners Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales, National Library Wales, Aberystwyth Arts School, Plant Dewi, Flying Start, Families First, Elin Vaughan Crowley artist and project co-ordinator, artists Jenny Hall, Karina Kolesnikaite, Ella Louise Jones, Laura Hughes ceramics tutor and Charlie Carter, animation tutor for their part in enabling this to happen.”

An official opening of Teulu will take place at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Saturday, 9 March, 2.30pm where there will be a series of free workshops with artists Ella Louise Jones, Jenny Hall and Elin Crowley.

Exhibitions and commissions from the other network galleries of the national contemporary art gallery for Wales will be announced in the coming months.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.