‘The What It Is Rite 01’ (2015) has been developed via walking and bus journeys across Newport eavesdropping on conversations. A collection of phrases particular to the local vernacular were collated and edited. My work is concerned with positive and empathic experiences. In previous works I have collated and exhibited positive affirmation phrases. In delving below the surface of Newport, the word ‘safe’ seemed to have a particular resonance. Its local use as a positive affirmation statement, as a greeting and as an alternative to ‘yes’ , made it a particularly pertinent starting point for a work. Its more usual meaning of security points to the tension between local and non-local perceptions of Newport.
For this project I spent the day walking around Newport town centre wearing a vest made from canvas on the front the words ‘I Am An Artist’ on the back ‘Please Donate A Penny’. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Newport many of whom when I told them what I was going to do with the money donated more than a penny. The coins collected have been fused within glass and metal to create a sculptural form. The materials I have used are metaphors for the industries that were once thriving in Newport. The sculptural form created is accompanied with a video of my time spent in Newport as well as canvasses that were signed by each of the donors.
Conversations with Katherine This is a performance that explores the experience between an artist and its viewer/participant using presence, ritual and exchange. Participants are required to bring an ‘offering’ that has a story attached in exchange for time with Katherine within her space where a series of rituals will take place. Each experience will become personal to participants and the outcome of the rituals and artefacts given will become part of an installation within the space.
“Poached eggs on doorstep toast no butter, with an Americano please” was my first breakfast order taken in Fanny’s Cafe some months back. Now I’m greeted like a family friend, coffee brewing when I walk through the door. I’ve spent my time listening to many colourful and humorous tales from the Fanny’s team and those go there. It’s not just any cafe, it’s a place where folk go to celebrate and share what is going on in their lives, and every single one of them is given the red carpet treatment. I set out to find one unsung hero and here have found many, this red retro gem in Newport’s crown not only serves the best darn poached eggs (thanks Dean!) but is without doubt my hero on this journey.
For the Beneath The Surface exhibition, I have produced Blind Dérive, a conjoined series of eight paintings drawing inspiration from NCC Street Scene department’s efforts to eliminate graffiti from the city. In the performance U Bend, I Bend, I celebrate NCC worker Carol Ellis, her pride in maintaining the cleanest toilets in the land and her ongoing contributions to local charities.
Stephanie Roberts | stephanierobertsart.wordpress.com
|ˈhi(ə)rō| – A person who is admired for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
My work explores 3 stories that are inspired by contrasting acts of heroism with in Newport. The story begins in 1909 with young lad, Tom Toya Lewis, his act of courage saved a life of a Newport dock worker, who became trapped amongst fallen timbers. Tom’s story has become a constant reminder to me of the ‘hero’ that saved me within my dreams as a young child, where through technical reenactments I was rescued from being buried alive. These poignant stories have lead me to explore todays hero’s within the city. On 12th March 2015, I became a blood donor and with many others that have gained the power to help others. This piece is a mosaic of stories that suspend, held together without constraints or limitations. Thank you to the Welsh Blood Service team and the donors that day for the support given to me on this project.
Marega Palser | mrandmrsclark.co.uk
Encounters Beneath the Surface so far….
Include conversations and visual ramblings in Pill. Experiencing the micro-climates that exist under Newport’s bridges, which include fishing for drunken back stories, abandoned playgrounds in amongst household waste, and Mother Nature’s relentless quest to replenish and provide life for all that feed her expansive tit.
I’ve met some members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace group, heard Gabriella Gillespie speak of her life’s experience and i’m about to have my cobwebs shaken by Lynette Webbe….there’s more, but that can wait.
Massimo Salvato | vimeo.com/massimofilms
Jonny is a documentary about Newport artist Jonathan Sherwood. Through his eyes and the constant suspension between creation and demolition we follow the diaspora that a group of artists is stuck in since the transformation of the town centre into a big shopping mall. The film’s story spans over the period of two years from the summer of 2012, when Jonny – who suffers from bi-polar disorder and keeps himself alive through the creation of his art and through heavy medication – together with other artists from his collective charity Artopsy, as consequence of urban planning, is leaving the empty shop that he is using as a community art studio in the town centre of Newport.
Marion Cheung | marioncheung-artist.com
Analysing the idea of loss and improvement through destruction and repair, I literally went ‘Beneath the Surface’ and based a series of paintings on the colours of the Friar’s Walk site overlaid with graphic structures of new buildings. I contacted Queensberry Real Estate for photographic resources – the project managers and front of house staff kindly gave me access to a wealth of images.
Additionally, I made a number of drawings from several vantage points which reminded me of a style of Japanese pottery called ‘Kintsugi’ meaning ‘golden repair.’ It’s the art of fixing broken pottery, rather than throwing it away, repairing it with laquer mixed with powdered metallics. The mended objects become much more beautiful than they were before – the scars now form part of their history. The paintings are inspired by the aesthetic and philosophy of Kintsugi.
Tin Shed Theatre Productions | tinshedtheatrecompany.com
We remain honorary Newportonians, engulfed and accepted by the city in which gave birth to us, Tin Shed Theatre. ‘Beneath The Surface’ is giving us the opportunity to share our secrets, confess our sins and portray life as we see it exist in our concrete jungle. We hope to mix live performance with spoken word, and character based narrative in a mish-mash performance style of pop up happenings with unusual Encounters.
Gareth Clark | mrandmrsclark.com
As a performing artist my research has been based on experiences with people in the City. In 2013 I began volunteering at a refugee drop in centre and these meetings inspired me to consider displacement and identity. Furthermore I realised that there were many supportive people who were rarely recognised for their incredible journeys, work ethic and humanity. In the developing performance I hope to make people question their own identity and to consider the unofficial infra-structure that holds us all together and is rarely celebrated.
Dino Rovaretti | facebook.com/MissingBear
In exploring the idea of a surface as an interface or meeting point questions begin to emerge around what creates a stable image of a city, what is Newport’s surface? Is it like the skin that forms over warm milk that has been left to cool? Is it a building or a series of buildings? Is it wherever the sun is? Is it on Facebook? Is it the patches of dry left on the uneven pavements after rain? Is it a memory, or series of memories? Through performance interventions I have been navigating the surface(s) and edging on getting lost.
Beneath The Surface is supported by Arts Council Wales, Newport City Council and The Project Space.