Culture

Please, ignore the Flint sculpture petition: We don’t need another bloody dragon

28 Aug 2017 2 minutes Read
The proposed dragon statue at Chirk

 

Ifan Morgan Jones

It was apparently C.S. Lewis who, on hearing about Tolkien’s plans for the Lord of the Rings, protested: ‘Not another f*****g elf!’

My first reaction is hearing of a petition to replace plans for Flint Castle’s now infamous Iron Ring with a giant dragon statue is ‘Not another bloody dragon!’

There are already well-developed plans to erect a humongous dragon just down the road at Chirk. If the Welsh Government wants to support the erection a massive dragon, then that’s the place to do it.

There are two main reasons why I think this is a bad idea:

First of all, giant dragons are just a little bit naff. The Red Dragon is a cool flag that we’re all proud of.

But the dragon is also omnipresent on logos and sculptures throughout Wales. We’re all dragon-ed out.

Another dragon is so unimaginative and inoffensive that the petition has a real chance of succeeding.

Secondly, it tells us very little about our history as a people. A dragon just reinforces the stereotype that we’re a semi-magical people with no history apart from the mythologies that we’ve invented for ourselves.

The objection to the Iron Ring statue was that it would present to the people of Wales a warped version of their own history, written from an outside POV.

Any replacement, therefore, needs to represent something about Welsh history from a Welsh point of view.

If the Iron Ring represented our conquest, then its replacement should represent our emancipation from that conquest.

Over the past few hundred years, Wales has been transformed from what threatened to become just another county of England into a country with many of the trappings of a modern nation state.

How about a sculpture to celebrate those that made our modern democracy possible – from the laws Hywel Dda to the industrial workers who collected pennies to set up our first national institutions, to those that campaigned for autonomy in the 70s and 90s?

Flint would be the perfect setting for such a sculpture as it would reinforce the point that every part of Wales has played a part in this journey – even the parts that sometimes feel ignored.

16 Comments
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cymrufwyaf
4 years ago

Cytuno / agreed

Neil Shadrach
Neil Shadrach
4 years ago

Byddwn i’n gwahardd y defnydd o enw Dewi Sant mewn datblygiadau newydd hefyd

Rhian Mair
Rhian Mair
4 years ago

Cytuno, er mor atgas oedd yr hanes tu ôl iddo,roedd y ring of steel yn gerflun diddorol. Rhaid dylunio ‘n ofalus, ee. mae tafod y ddraig yn llawer mwy pwerus na’r ddraig ei hunan.

Alan H Price
Alan H Price
4 years ago

Double cytuno

Capitalist and Welshnash
Capitalist and Welshnash
4 years ago

Madog ap Llywelyn had history there. There’s no statue to him anywhere as far as I know. Why not give him a statue there?

I’ll pay £100. If 500 people do so, wecan have a basic statue of him.

Cynan
Cynan
4 years ago

Good article, asks some good questions. People love myth and mythology though and dragons and elves etc have never been more popular than now what with the Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. I think playing up to our ancient tales and history e.g. the characters of the Mabinogion (Lords of the Underworld with their bright-white wolves, giants, etc), King Arthur, Merlin, Boudica, Owain Glyndwr, St. David, a big massive fire-breathing dragon, would certainly be A LOT better than nothing at all. And they are all undeniably positive symbols of Wales. And much better still than symbolism to… Read more »

Geraint Talfan Davies
Geraint Talfan Davies
4 years ago

If you want good public art you have to start with the artist. The Angel of the North was not some piece of instant PR but a work by a top artist – Anthony Gormley – commissioned by Gateshead Council on the back of 30 years experience of enlightened commissioning. I thought we were supposed to be a cultured nation. Sometimes I wonder.

CapM
CapM
4 years ago

I disagree that you have to start with the artist, you start with the idea which the artist builds on to develop his/her art.
I think that not one but two monumental art works are justified one on each of the two road routes into/out of Cymru and I can see no other reason for such works to exist in whatever form other than to make it absolutely clear than those seeing them are leaving one country and entering another different one. Anything less is ultimately just decorative frippery however grand it’s scale or iconic it’s design.

Rhydian Hughes
Rhydian Hughes
4 years ago

Agree! Cytuno! A statue of an individual with significance to the independence, freedom of
Wales and it’s people.

The dragon is cool and everything, but let’s comomerate someone real.

Petroc
Petroc
4 years ago

Mi faswn i’n licio gweld cerflun enfawr Garmon, efo wyneb Saunders Lewis arno, yno… ond anhebyg, er bod Maes Garmon yn agos iawn at y Fflint.

CambroUiDunlainge
CambroUiDunlainge
4 years ago

A big metal shield with a lion on it sticking out of the ground in Dinefwr Park… giving the southern branch of the Merfynion some love.

Bryn-daf
Bryn-daf
4 years ago

The dragon isnt even Celtic Welsh in fantasy…it was brought in by the brutal Romans….people who happily killed orphans and disabled ppl as undesirables…

Lets have a statue to annwn the celtic underworld 😀

leigh richards
leigh richards
4 years ago

The red dragon is the definitive national symbol of our country – indeed as a national flag it’s unique among the world’s nations. I recall a few years back an organisation called the ‘welsh christian party’ ran a bizarre campaign to have it banned on account of the red dragon being a ‘symbol of the devil’ – unsurprisingly nobody voted for the cranks in the subsequent elections to the Senedd http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/christian-group-wants-evil-welsh-2263878

Dafydd ap Gwilym
4 years ago

My first reaction to reading this was, “What now?” Fortunately my second is to cast away initial thoughts and opinions and always read on! I was unaware of the dragon at Chirk. The ins and outs of that and all entailed my be up for additional debate so, I’ll leave that little mystical beast there. Firstly, I don’t think dragons are naff at all. What annoys me, not your comment, as much as it possibly did C.S. Lewis and his personal ‘elf’ issues, is the fact that we have allowed every other nation under the sun to take away yet… Read more »

Aaron Casa
Aaron Casa
4 years ago

We haven’t emancipated ourselves. We’re not independent. We dont govern ourselves. We are not free. Yet. When Cymru stands tall, proud of its own efforts in liberation, only then can we produce truly great art to honour those who fought for us. To do so now, when the job is only half done, would be to lie to ourselves. Such a statue would inspire only apathy, laziness, acceptance of the status quo and a rejection of the rebellion we must all feel burning within our breast. I’d be happy with another effing dragon. I don’t think we should allow foreign… Read more »

Tame Frontiersman
Tame Frontiersman
4 years ago

Pan oeddwn i’n fachgen, roedd arnaf eisiau draig go iawn, ond rhaid cyfaddef i mi gael fy siomi’r dyddiau’ma gan weld y teganau a’r holl stwff sydd â dreigiau cochion arnynt yn cael eu gwneud y tu allan i Gymru ac mae fy mrwdfrydedd dros ddreigiau wedi pylu rhywfaint.

Cerflun? Wel mae llawer o Gymry teilwng!

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