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‘Eye-catching’ and ‘playful’ artworks scoop Gold Medals at the National Eisteddfod

05 Aug 2023 5 minute read
Six by Dan Griffiths which won the Gold Medal for Craft & Design

Two artists from Cardiff were awarded prestigious Gold Medals for their artwork at the National Eisteddfod of Llyn a Eifionydd 2023.

The winner of the Gold Medal for Fine Art is John Rowley and the Gold Medal for Craft and Design was won by Dan Griffiths. Both were also awarded cash prizes of £5,000 in a ceremony on the Eisteddfod Maes in Boduan near Pwllheli on the opening day of the Festival.

According to the selectors, Elfyn Lewis, Owein Prendergast and Junko Mori, Dan Griffiths’ work “caught the eye” while they described John Rowley’s work as “exciting and playful”.

Dan Griffiths had submitted a colourful work called “Six” at the Eisteddfod. The artist, from Pontyclun and who works in Cardiff, said of his work: “Six is a journey, an abstract reflection of the built environment. Exploring the interconnections between objects, space and the city.”

John Rowley had submitted three photographs of himself wearing ‘masks’ created at his home from everyday materials and then photographed them and posted the images on social media.

The three selectors discussed the various entries for the award virtually for several months and met at Y Lle Celf, the Eisteddfod’s art exhibition, on Friday to make their final decision.

Elfyn Lewis said: “We discussed for a long time during the morning. We had discussed with each other over the last few months online and made this final decision today. I think this is the first time the final judgment has been made that day before the gold medal is presented. It’s brilliant because everyone gets the same fair play. We have seen all the work together and had time to walk around Y Lle Celf, see what is what and how the works sit alongside each other.”


Speaking about John Rowley’s work he said: “He’s been doing these for a while now. He started during Covid-19 when everything was shut down and was making these pictures on instagram.

“He was giving himself time every day. He was taking things around the house and make these faces. The subjects he uses and talks about are quite playful and I just like them. He has put a light in his mouth or fish over his face there is not a lot of people going to say ‘I can do that’. There is certainly an element of performance in his work as well.”

Commenting on Dan Griffiths’ work Elfyn Lewis added: “For me personally and the other judges I liked the shapes and the colours, there is something playful about it. The work catches everyone’s eye, from children to adults. The way it has been done to a very high standard.”

The Eisteddfod Scholarship to a Young Artist was awarded to Llyr Llyr Evans from Moelfre near Amlwch, Anglesey.

The £1,500 prize will enable him to follow a course at a recognized art and design school or college or attend master classes.

After studying art at Coleg Menai, he went to London to study Fashion Communication and Promotion at Central Saint Martins.

In addition to the National Eisteddfod scholarship Llyr will be offered a space to exhibit his work in Y Lle Celf at next year’s National Eisteddfod in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

During the week-long festival Y Lle Celf, supported by the Arts Council of Wales, will be the largest temporary art exhibition in Europe with dozens of carefully selected art items on display.

John Rowley won the Gold Medal for Fine Art


Elin Huws, chair of the Art committee in Llyn and Eifionydd, said: “The Eisteddfod gives artists a place to display their work and for one week every year Y Lle Celf is the most popular art gallery in Wales.

“This exhibition has become a very professional show and winning an award is extremely important to an artist’s reputation.

“What is exciting, innovative and fresh for one may not be considered so by others. That is what usually happens at Y Lle Celf and we will see what the opinion is about the art in the exhibition this year.”

She explained that in order to exhibit in the exhibition, artists and designers must either have been born in Wales, have Welsh parents, or have lived or worked in Wales for at least three years before the presentation date. The final selection is made by a panel of experts.

Elin added several exciting projects have been taking place in the Eisteddfod’s catchment area for months and these will have a prominent place in the exhibition.

“The Cofnod project was set-up with the intention of keeping the names of places such as fields, chapels and beaches alive.

“During the Eisteddfod itself we will have a specific theme every day in Y LLe Celf with workshops and activities,” she said.

The 2023 Llyn and Eifionydd National Eisteddfod at Boduan runs from August 5-12. More details online at

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