The Living Valley

Peak/Copa at Abergavenny Food Festival


Photographer Jon Pountney, based near Cardiff, was selected for our Horsebox Studio Commission at this year’s Abergavenny Food Festival.

Using archive photography as a starting point Jon has been discovering more about the smallholdings and farms, past and present, of rural Monmouthshire.

With a particular focus on the Llanthony Valley, Jon has created an exhibition of new photographic work alongside archive images from the personal collection of Edith James of Treveddw Farm and from the Llanthony History Society.

The exhibition can be seen in the Horsebox Studio, situated in the grounds of Abergavenny Castle during the festival weekend on Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September, 9:30am-5pm. 

Come and share your food memories at the Horsebox with writer Emma Beynon and poet Jonathan Edwards, who will be delivering creative writing workshops for all ages.

 

About Jon Pountney:

‘I first picked up a ‘real’ camera in 1995, a present for my 17th birthday from my Nan. From this moment I began my creative journey as a photographer and artist, exploring photography, painting and drawing at college and university. Since leaving education, I have worked on a series of self-initiated and collaborative projects, which have ranged from a residency in a castle to a photography documentary commissioned and shown by the BBC.
 
My work is the result of years of seeing and thinking about photography and my place within it as an artist. My aesthetic as a photographer is very simple and straightforward: try to capture interesting places and moments in time and share with others. I make art to communicate my sense of wonder, and the themes in my work are influenced by my interest in people, place and history. Not merely a spectator, I am most often a member of the communities who form my practice. I am driven by storytelling through imagery, in still or moving image, and I believe my familiarity with my subjects helps to vitalise the work by lending credibility and an empathetic interpretation.’

www.jonpountney.co.uk

 

About Abergavenny Food Festival:

Over the last 18 years, Abergavenny Food Festival has grown to become the largest, longest running food festival in Wales. The event enjoys an exceptional reputation as a place for chefs, food businesses, journalists, farmers and food producers to come together. The Festival prides itself on transforming the way people think about food; challenging and promoting new ideas, pushing the boundaries of current thinking and encouraging people to look differently at where their food comes from. Abergavenny Food Festival was created in 1999 by two local farmers in response to the BSE crisis and the resulting lack of consumer confidence in British produce. With the outbreak of Foot and Mouth in 2001, the difficulties worsened for farmers and pushed the Festival forward in terms of showcasing the wonderful food on offer locally and the passion of the people who produce it. Each year the Festival attracts more than 30,000 visitors to Abergavenny, generating an estimated £4 million impact for the local economy. 

www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com

 

The Horsebox Studio is a creative mobile space which takes Peak projects on the road. Supported by the Brecon Beacons Trust.

      

TOTEMIC

Beasts of the Black Mountains
Pete Fowler


Green Man Festival

Glanusk, Crickhowell, Powys
17th – 20th August 2017

Situated on site at the Horsebox Studio, Einstein’s Garden.

Click here to complete our survey and be in with a chance of winning a signed, limited edition Totemic print. Deadline 3rd September. 

Originally from Cardiff, artist and designer Pete Fowler works in a variety of media, including drawing, painting, animation, printmaking and sculpture and is best known for his artwork for the Super Furry Animals.  For Peak/Copa’s artist commission for Green Man 2017, Pete was lured away from his studio on Brick Lane, London for a research visit to the rural Black Mountains of Wales.

Over an intense four days Pete visited a variety of locations, including waterways, mountains and woodlands and met local residents and eco volunteers. Pete was inspired to creatively respond to the region’s unique landscape to design a psychedelic mirrored realm of the environment.

Pete has created TOTEMIC – Beasts of the Black Mountains, a company of fantastical beasts that live and breath within the features of the terrain. Pete will unleash the Canal Hydrus, Table Mountain Shaman, Alder Wood Sprite and River Usk Nymph at Green Man festival. Audiences are invited into the unique portal of the Horsebox Studio, a creative mobile space that takes Peak projects on the road.

During the festival weekend this portal will grow and mutate as families and folk create their own interpretations of the beasts through creative drawing and writing workshops. Will the Green Man have the ingenuity to tame these strengthening beasts?

Totemic will be exhibited at The Old School in Crickhowell in the autumn and via www.peakart.org.uk Signed limited edition Pete Fowler prints will made available to purchase after the festival.

Totemic is supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Brecon Beacons Trust.

Peak/Copa creates opportunities for contemporary art in the Black Mountains.

www.peakart.org.uk
@peak_copa
#Totemic

www.greenman.net
@GreenManFest

Tirlun Gwaith / Working Landscape

Recordio bywyd ar dyddynnod Canolbarth Cymru
Recording life on the smallholdings of mid Wales

 

Peak/Copa yng Ngŵyl Wanwyn y Sioe Frenhinol: 20 a 21 Mai 2017
Peak/Copa at the Royal Welsh Spring Festival: 20 & 21 May 2017

 

I don’t like to plan too much.
I’m trying to put back the natural wilderness.
Oak birch hazel thorn mountain ash ash.
A farm opening its arms wide to change,
as the same birds circle there, above,
singing their song.
And everybody on the farm looks up.

The Peak/Copa team pitched up the Horsebox Studio at the Royal Welsh Spring Festival in Builth Wells, where we presented a mini museum of tools from agricultural life of the 19th and 20th centuries. The objects were selected from the personal collection of historian, author and dry stonewaller, Stuart Fry. Over 230 people visited the Horsebox and we invited farmers and smallholders to talk with us to find out more about their experiences and memories of working on the land.

You can listen to recordings from the conversations here: soundcloud.com

 

We were delighted to be joined by Welsh poet Jonathan Edwards (winner of the Costa Poetry Prize 2014) who created a new poem for each person in response to their conversations.

You can read Jonathan’s poems here:
Tirlun Gwaith _ Working Landscape

 

And now a group of boys there on a bridge,
this summer of scything and leisure hours,
green, green leaves and lambing,
Summers don’t seem to be summers anymore.
It’s a life. It’s a life that’s gone now.

A short article from Jonathan reflecting on the weekend:


It was an enormous privilege to work with visitors to the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Spring Festival. As I don’t come from a farming background at all, it was fascinating to hear the great variety of experiences which farming generates. The people we interviewed ranged from a woman in her twenties who’d taken to farming despite her fiancé’s lack of enthusiasm, delivering lambs with her engagement ring on, through to people who’d been in farming for sixty years, who’d seen all sorts of changes and talked with pride of passing their experiences on to the new generation.

One farmer we spoke to discussed his childhood in the 1950s, when he skipped school to work on the farm. In a family of butchers, my father had the same experience, skipping school to cart a delivery bike all over the valleys through his teens, so I was really interested in that connection, and the impact of a family business on education and opportunities. As a writer, I was also really struck by the care and delicacy of some of the processes farmers go through in their work. For example, one man discussed how part of his job at the moment involves seeding hedges, and to do so the seed needs to be removed from the berry and the poisonous pith around it. Having tried food blenders and all sorts of different apparatus, the conclusion has been that completing the process by hand is the only option, and that sort of daily process in some ways sums up the passion, patience and tenderness that the people I spoke to bring to their daily lives. Another farmer had developed from scratch a 13,000-tree wood on a piece of land he’d purchased. He spoke of going into his wood, the world he’d made, and spending hours there, the birds, the trees, how it felt protective. In that making of worlds to walk round in, that single-minded passion, there was much as a writer I could relate to.

It’s an enormous responsibility to take the experiences someone has been generous enough to share with you and form them into a piece of writing, to honour the art as well as the person. My favourite part of the weekend was seeing people’s reactions when I read the poems to them, when their lives and stories were given back to them. The gifts I received in return included five Welsh cakes, one pint, one handshake, one hug, nine smiles, one spontaneous round of applause and one offer of a bed if I ever happened to be passing through Cwmdu. Knowing how I might react if anyone ever wrote a poem about me, I’d been practising for weeks my read-and-duck method to avoid any punches, but it was never needed. Because of the quick turnaround, with each piece being written in half an hour or an hour to get to the next person in the queue, these are nascent, infant poems, first drafts, saplings, the sort of sketches my mother might make with a pencil before taking them home and getting the oils or the watercolours out. The material the farmers were kind enough to share with us was incredible, and my hope is that, with apologies for this obvious comparison, like one farmer’s berry or another’s forest, in the coming weeks and months, I can get rid of the places where the poems aren’t up to the job, can make them better, make them bloom and grow.

– Jonathan Edwards
May 2017

Images, Film and Sound Recordings by Sion Marshall Waters

With thanks to the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and everyone who stopped by the Horsebox Studio to share their story.

 

 

Horsebox Studio Commission

ARTIST OPPORTUNITY:
Horsebox Studio Commission
Peak/Copa & Abergavenny Food Festival


August – September
Festival Weekend 16th & 17th September 2017

The Horsebox Studio Commission is a partnership project between Peak/Copa and the Abergavenny Food Festival. We are seeking a professional, Wales-based visual or applied artist of any discipline, to respond to the distinctive region of the Black Mountains and to the themes of the festival to produce new work in collaboration with the public, which will be created and presented in Peak’s Horsebox Studio on site during the festival weekend (16th and 17th September 2017).

Themes: growing, cooking, agriculture, sustainability, food culture, the politics and economics of food production, individual and collective memories of food, markets, small holdings

 

The artist must be available during the preparation and delivery of the festival weekend (16th and 17th September).

The artist is expected to spend a minimum of 8 days working on the research, preparation, delivery and evaluation of the commission (at least 4 days to be located in Abergavenny).

The Artist Commission is supported through Arts Council of Wales funding.

  • £2,500 artist fee inclusive of materials and production costs
  • Up to £150 travel expenses
  • Up to 4 x nights’ accommodation in Abergavenny (if required)
Click here for more information:
PeakCopa Horsebox Commission ENG Word doc
PeakCopa Horsebox Commission ENG  PDF

Or contact Rebecca Spooner, Creative Director rebecca@artsalivewales.org.uk / 01873 811579

The deadline for applications is 10am, Wednesday 19th July 2017.

 

Peak/Copa is an initiative devised and delivered by Arts Alive Wales, an arts education charity based in Crickhowell, Powys. Peak creates opportunities for contemporary art in the Black Mountains and Welsh Borders for the benefit of the region’s artists, communities and visitors.

 

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CYFLE I ARTISTIAID:
Comisiwn Stiwdio Fan Geffyl
Peak/Copa a Gŵyl Fwyd Y Fenni


Gorffennaf – Medi.
Penwythnos yr Ŵyl 16 ac 17 Medi 2017

Mae Comisiwn Stiwdio Fan Geffyl yn brosiect partneriaeth rhwng Peak/Copa a Gŵyl Fwyd y Fenni. Rydym yn chwilio am artist gweledol neu gymhwysol proffesiynol o unrhyw ddisgyblaeth sydd wedi ei leoli yng Nghymru, i ymateb i ardal nodedig y Mynydd Du ac i themâu’r ŵyl gan gynhyrchu gwaith newydd mewn cydweithrediad â’r cyhoedd, a fydd yn cael ei greu a’i gyflwyno yn Stiwdio Fan Geffyl Peak ar y safle yn ystod penwythnos yr ŵyl (16 ac 17 Medi 2017).

Themâu : tyfu, coginio, amaethyddiaeth, cynaliadwyedd, diwylliant bwyd, gwleidyddiaeth ac economeg cynhyrchu bwyd, atgofion unigol a chyfunol am fwyd, marchnadoedd, tyddynnod

 

Rhaid i’r artist fod ar gael yn ystod paratoi a gweinyddu penwythnos yr ŵyl (16 ac 17 Medi). Disgwylir i’r artist dreulio o leiaf 8 diwrnod gwaith yn gweithio ar yr ymchwil, paratoi, cyflenwi a gwerthuso’r comisiwn (o leiaf 4 dydd i’w leoli yn y Fenni).

Caiff Comisiwn yr Artist ei gefnogi drwy nawdd Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru.

Mae’r comisiwn yn cynnig y canlynol:

  • £2,500 ffi artist yn cynnwys deunyddiau, costau cynhyrchu ac unrhyw addasiadau i’r Stiwdio Fan Geffyl.
  • Hyd at £150 costau teithio
  • Hyd at 4x noson o lety yn y Fenni (os yw’n ofynnol) yn ystod y cyfnod ymchwil a phen wythnos yr ŵyl.
Cliciwch yma am ragor o wybodaeth:
PeakCopa Horsebox Commission CYM Word doc
PeakCopa Horsebox Commission CYM  PDF

 

Neu cysylltwch â Rebecca Spooner, Cyfarwyddwr Creadigol rebecca@artsalivewales.org.uk / 01873 811579

Y dyddiad cau am ymgeisio yw 10am, dydd Mercher 19 Gorffennaf 2017.

 

Menter yw Peak/Copa a ddyfeisiwyd ac a gyflenwir gan Arts Alive Wales, elusen addysgol gelfyddydol a leolir yng Nghrucywel, Powys. Mae Copa yn creu cyfleoedd am gelf gyfoes yn y Mynydd Du ac ar y ffin er budd artistiaid a chymunedau’r ardal a’r ymwelwyr â hi.

 

 

Enthusiasm

Saturday 1st July 2017, 12-10pm

 

Redhouse, Old Town Hall, High Street, Merthyr CF47 8AE

 

FREE

 


Peak/Copa is pleased to support Enthusiasm

 

A project by Victoria Donovan and Stefhan Caddick

 

Enthusiasm is a migration story spanning Merthyr Tydfil and Ukraine; the 1860s to the present day. This innovative, interdisciplinary one-day arts event brings together musicians, members of the community, archivists and historians to take a radical look at a little-known historical episode that links Merthyr and the South Wales Valleys to the Donbas in Ukraine and asks how the legacy of this past continues to resonate in our social, cultural and political landscape today.

For more information visit: www.stefhancaddick.co.uk

In 1869, Welsh industrialist John Hughes founded the mining town of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine, initiating a wave of migration from South Wales to Eastern Europe. 1917 and the approaching Russian Revolution saw the hasty exit of the industrialists who had followed Hughes, fearful of the revolutionary ferment. 100 years later, in the present day, Ukraine and the Donbas are once again at the centre of a violent conflict that has led to the internal displacement of over a million  people.

Enthusiasm will bring to life some of the elements of this fascinating and timely story, via film, music, image, food and discussion.

Enthusiasm includes:

• Performance of a selection of migrant letters by local and diasporan voices.

• Exhibition of historic photographs of Donetsk from the Glamorgan Archives and contemporary images by Ukrainian photographer Alexander Chekmenev

• A programme of workshops and activities

• Screening: Enthusiasm: The Donbass Symphony (1931) by Ukrainian revolutionary film maker Dziga Vertov with a new original score performed live by composer Simon Gore.

 

View a pdf of the full programme for the day 

Dr Victoria Donovan, originally from Cardiff, is a cultural historian of Russia based at the University of St Andrews. Donovan was selected as one of ten academics in the ‘New Generation Thinker 2016’ scheme.
www.ahrc.ac.uk

 

Stefhan Caddick is a visual artists who works in video, installation and performance. His practice is often a collaborative engagement that sources its materials from institutions, communities and individuals.
www.stefhancaddick.co.uk

Project Partners: 
University of St AndrewsGlamorgan ArchivesRussia 17, Peak/Copa: Contemporary Art in the Black Mountains, Redhouse Cymru

Image credit: 
Image: still from Dziga Vertov’s Enthusiasm: The Donbass Symphony (1931) (from the collection of the Austrian Film Museum. Frame enlargement Georg Wasner)

Y Gors Ddu / The Black Bog

Join us for an informal event to view Allen Fisher’s work in progress and discover more about the Black Bog.

 

SATURDAY 10TH JUNE, 10am-1pm
(panel discussion will start promptly at 11am)

 

Arts Alive Wales
The Old School, Brecon Road, Crickhowell, NP8 1DG

 

FREE. Refreshments served. To book a place:  info@artsalivewales.org.uk / 01873 811579

Artist, Allen Fisher has created a new collection of paintings on y Waen Ddu, the Black Bog – a rare raised peat bog situated on the Craig Y Cilau nature reserve in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Allen is drawn to the cultural associations of peat bogs as sites of Iron Age sacrifice, preservation and divination as well as their ecological importance as rich environments of biodiversity and carbon capture. Peak/Copa, in collaboration with BBC Cymru R&D has produced 360 degree film footage and binaural sound recordings of Allen creating new work on site.

Rebecca Spooner, Creative Director, will host a panel discussion with Allen and two guest speakers:

 – Allen Fisher is based in Hereford and is a poet, painter and tutor associated with the British Poetry Revival and the Fluxus movement. His work is represented by Tate gallery. Allen will talk about his attraction to working on site with the ponds of y Waen Ddu and his working process. He will also discuss the enduring need amongst artists to work directly in the landscape, particularly referencing the land art movement of the twentieth century.

– Archaeologist and author, Professor Miranda Aldhouse-Green, will discuss the historical and cultural context of peat bogs. Referring to her critically acclaimed book Bog Bodies Uncovered (Thames & Hudson. 2015) Miranda will tell us more about the remains of prehistoric people who have been revealed in the bogs of northern Europe. In many cases their skin, hair, nails, and marks of injury survive, betraying the violence and ritual that surrounded their deaths. Who were these unfortunate people, and why were they killed

– Geologist Alan Bowring is the Fforest Fawr Geopark Development Officer for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authrority. Alan will talk about the ecological and geological significance of the Criag Y Cilau site and its importance within the National Park.  In 2013 Alan discovered a rare example of Bronze Age rock art, more than 4,000 years old  in the Brecon Beacons.

Our Digital Manager, Gavin Johnson will discuss the documentation of Allen Fisher’s project in partnerhsip with BBC Cymru and the potential for digital technology in artist projects.

Directions and parking information can be found on the Visit Us page of the Arts Alive Wales website.

Photo credit: Toril Brancher

Woodland

French & Mottershead

A love poem to the forest and body

Cushioned by soil and surrounded by leaf litter and new growth, Woodland by artist duo French & Mottershead is a meditative and deeply affecting audio work that creates a self-portrait of the body after death. Using spoken narrative with insights from forensic anthropologists and ecologists, Woodland is a gentle confrontation of mortality and an invitation to imagine our body’s return to the earth over an epic length of time.

Friday 26th– Monday 29th May, 10:30am – 4:30pm

Special event:
Saturday 27th May with an artist talk at 7pm

The Old Station, Tintern, nr Chepstow, Monmouthshire, NP16 7NX

Suggested donation: £4 per person

Drop-in or to book a place contact: info@artsalivewales.org.uk

  • Woodland is an outdoor piece. Please wear appropriate clothing and sensible shoes.
  • This works contains sensitive material. Recommended 14+, or by parental guidance.
  • The audio experience lasts 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Co-presented with independent curator and producer Ruth Holdsworth and supported by Wye Valley River Festival and Wye Valley AONB.

www.frenchmottershead.com

Photo credit: Paul Blakemore