Carpark mural will honour ‘pioneering’ 19th century female seafarer
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
A new mural to honour a 19th Century pioneering female maritime teacher is to be featured on a Caernarfon car park
Cyngor Gwynedd announced that work is underway to celebrate the life and legacy of Ellen Edwards, today International Women’s Day (Wednedsay, March 8).
Born in Amlwch in 1810 Ellen she moved to Caernarfon as a young woman.
The daughter of a sea captain she would become an important figure in the maritime industry.
She taught navigation for over 60 years teaching around 1,000 sailors how to sail at her own sea training school in Caernarfon.
She died at her home on Tithebarn Street, Caernafon, in 1889, aged 79.
A plaque marks the site of her sailing school, at a former mortuary building, close to the dock in Caernarfon.
The mural is the first of several art installations to be developed in the town as part of the new Canfas project by Galeri Caernarfon.
Created by Welsh artist Teresa Jenellen, it will be displayed on the wall of Cyngor Gwynedd’s Doc Fictoria car park, with work starting over the next few weeks.
Canfas is a pilot project by Galeri Caernarfon aiming to incorporate the identity of Caernarfon people into empty and forgotten places around the town.
These spaces will become canvases, interpreting stories, memories and legends in a creative way. A series of art activities will also be held throughout Caernarfon.
The project is funded by Galeri Caernarfon and Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig.
Mural artist Teresa Jenellen said: “Ellen Edwards was a pioneer.
“Not only did she succeed in the world of seafaring, which was dominated by men, but she excelled. She was recognised and respected, with many of her students achieving distinguished careers of their own.
“Rather than a portrait, this work is a celebration of Ellen Edwards’ success and the inspiration given, not only to the men who were taught to sail at the time, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to the women who he watched and learned about her through the decades.
She added: “I tried to convey the feeling of looking, to the horizon and beyond, with purpose and hope.”
The decision to place a mural of a woman as influential as Ellen Edwards on a council staff car park is appropriate. The authority says it is “committed” to supporting more women to apply for and hold, leadership and management roles in the organisation.
A priority for this aim was set out in the Council’s Plan, approved at the Full Council meeting on March 2.
A Women in Leadership Development Programme has been introduced, with the emphasis on transferring skills, developing confidence and building a professional network.
Twenty two members staff members have completed and benefited from the programme, another 12 started on International Women’s Day.
Chief Executive of Galeri Caernarfon Gwyn Roberts, said: “Recording Ellen Edwards’ contribution with artwork of this quality is a fitting way to start the project in Doc Fictoria.”
Councillor Menna Jones, the Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet Member for Corporate Support, was “looking forward” to seeing the new mural and “proud” of the council’s Women in Leadership project.
“It seeks to remove any obstacles that may be preventing women from reaching leading positions within the council, ” she said.
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