Imagining History

Professor Diana Wallace  (Chair of Imagining History: Wales in Fiction and Fact Conference Committee)  introduces the theme of the exhibition

Imagined histories shape our sense of who we are, where we come from, and of what we might become. In Wales such narratives – the Mabinogi, legends of Owain Glyndŵr, the Druidic inventions of Iolo Morganwg, tales of the Rebecca Riots, TV adaptations of How Green Was My Valley - have a particular resonance in a country with two languages which exists in a complex union with its larger neighbour. The histories we learn in school or read in textbooks are often partial, fragmented, even distorted. They have been written, on the whole, by those who have the power and education to wield the pen: the victor, the coloniser, the slave-owner. They offer us one story. Imagined histories help us to fill in the gaps, to try on other costumes, to walk in someone else’s skin and see through their eyes. Art – whether visual, written or aural – can use imagination to bridge the gap between past and present, the remembered and the forgotten. The artworks in this exhibition, and the creative responses to them by poets and prose writers, offer a rich source of new possibilities for the re-imagining of our national histories.                            

The ‘Imagining History’ exhibition accompanies a Conference of the same name which runs Friday 12 –  Saturday 13 November 2021.

The exhibition includes work by Susan Adams, Iwan Bala, Judith Beecher, Elizabeth Bridge, Jack Crabtree, Morag Colquhoun, Ivor Davies, Ken Elias, Geraint Evans, Tom Goddard, Clive Hicks Jenkins, Rachel Jones, Naomi Leake, Radha Patel, Kate Milsom, Paul Reas, Andre Stitt, Daniel Trevidy, Dawn Woolley and others.

The exhibition and conference are made possible through the support of University of South Wales, Association of Welsh Writing in English, LLafur, Archif Menywod Cymru/Women’s Archive Wales, and Pontypridd Museum.

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Artist Tom Goddard talks about his installation The Beast of Bala

From Military Wallpaper to Finding Aarti