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Welsh artists showcased worldwide through UK Govt art collection

07 Aug 2023 4 minute read
Apple Cider Vinegar With Mother – Iwan Lewis

Works of art from contemporary Welsh artists are to be displayed in embassies and government buildings around the world.

Ten new pieces of Welsh art have been acquired by the UK Government Art Collection (GAC) this year as the first instalment of a five-year drive to ensure it reflects creative talent from across the entirety of the UK.

The new works showcase the diversity of talent in Wales, including the work of Iwan Lewis, whose art draws on his experience of moving back to Ynys Môn, the island of Anglesey, after living in London for 10 years.

His work explores the history and mythology of these ancient landscapes as well as the impact of tourists to the region.

Also included are the spray-painted intricate pencil drawings of Manon Awst, whose approach is moulded by her upbringing in north Wales and her academic studies in architecture at the University of Cambridge.

Textile photographic images by Nigel Hurlstone explore themes of masculinity and loss in his study of relationships.

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “We benefit from an incredible breadth of artistic talent in this country, and I’m delighted that more works from Wales are being added to the Government Art Collection as part of our drive to include the work of talented artists from every part of the UK.

“From Iwan Lewis’ depictions of the iconic landscapes of north Wales to Manon Awst’s intriguing pencil drawings, this year’s new artworks are a testament to the UK’s booming creative sector. I look forward to seeing them on display around the world.”


Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said: “It’s great to see the work of Welsh artists showcased around the world in the Government Art Collection.

“We have a rich heritage of Welsh artists stretching back to the wonderful landscapes painted by Richard Wilson in the 18th century, to the art of Augustus and Gwen John, and into the 20th century with celebrated artists such as Kyffin Williams.

“And that tradition is being continued with our vibrant contemporary art scene in Wales. Congratulations to Manon Awst, Nigel Hurlstone and Iwan Lewis whose work will now be seen by a new, diverse global audience.”

Last year, GAC, which is part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), launched a five-year acquisitions programme to procure works from exciting talent and showcase the best of British creativity – promoting further interest in the country’s globally renowned creative sector.

The Art X-UK project initially ran as a successful pilot scheme in 2020–21 when more than 90 pieces by 45 contemporary visual artists were acquired for the Collection.

These works are now on display in government buildings around the country and internationally in British embassies and residences including Paris, Ankara, The Holy See in Rome, and 10 Downing Street.

Later this year GAC will work with the Contemporary Visual Arts Network in the north east of England and the Scottish Contemporary Art Network to identify more talented artists from these regions to be featured in the collection.

Manon Awst, artist said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that my work is now part of the Government Art collection. These pieces were originally shown in north Wales art institutions (Mostyn and Oriel Glyn y Weddw), places that have inspired me since childhood. I’m very grateful to have my work supported and acknowledged in this context.”

Nigel Hurlstone, artist said: “Having work placed in the Government Art Collection is an absolute honour and privilege. It is a rich, diverse and challenging collection of work.

“To be able to share my practice within this collection has widened my own horizons and vision for how art can be experienced and encountered in the world and most importantly, how impactful the Arts can be to generate and foster new understandings and challenge inequalities.”

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