Welcome to our new Billboard Gallery. Installed in July 2022, this space will showcase new work by Welsh/Wales based artists. Each year we will commission and install a new image, sharing the different perspectives, materials and ideas from a range of artists and makers.
By bringing work outside the gallery walls we hope to celebrate and inspire creativity in the wider community.
Artist Adéọlá Dewis was selected as our first commission through an open call in autumn 2021.
This project has been funded by the Arts Council of Wales Cultural Recovery Fund.
DANCING OUTSIDE OPENS THE ROAD
ADÉỌLÁ DEWIS + CATRIONA ABUNEKE
Dancing Outside Opens the Road is a new work created by artist Adéọlá Dewis and photographer Catriona Abuneke.
Inspired by Cwmbran’s history of farming and its connections to the tin industry, this piece draws parallels to elements of the Yoruba deity Ogun, the West African god of iron, metal and metal work.
“I felt this juxtaposition helped to link my specific aesthetic with the integrity of this beautiful Welsh town. I brought to this work my passion for honouring women and for allowing opportunity to celebrate them through transformation.” – Adéọlá Dewis
Transformation here refers to the use of costume and adornment. The apron was designed with simple lines and each costume was envisioned to be an element of lines and symbols that would be repeated – inspired by the vévé (drawing) of Ogun.
Artist Naz Syed of Creative Lives worked closely with Adéọlá and Catriona to make connections in the local community. Four women were invited to take part in the photoshoot, where the joy and spirit of Tabassum Ali, Rahila Hamid, Pytsje, and Buhe Ncube was captured, and transformed into the final image you see here.
“Naz was an integral link to the local community, inviting women to take part in the photoshoot. Her approach was intuitive and based on deep knowledge of the beautiful women featured. Catriona is a first class artist and photographer with a generous spirit. She brought skill, talent and joy in capturing and editing the images.” – Adéọlá Dewis
“It is really special to be a part of the first billboard project, from being part of the artist selection, to connecting the community and sharing their stories. To be bringing such diverse artwork to the Grange and exhibiting work in the urban landscape for more people to experience it and showcase diverse artists and art really matters.” – Naz Syed
“I have felt privileged and quite honoured to be involved. Because I feel I am just the same as everyone else. To be part of someone else’s vision it’s quite special. Doing new things for me opens up my mind. I need those challenges outside of work and family.” – Tabassum Ali, Participant
“Seeing people of colour on such a scale is inspiring. That level of empowerment, of seeing people that look like you, in a medium like this what can that do? It’s the power to transform, to transform the world and transform yourself.” – Andrew Ogun, Agent for Change, Arts Council of Wales
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Adéọlá is a Trinidadian artist based in Cardiff. Her practice involves drawing, painting, performance, research and writing; and explores themes around ritual, identity, belonging, diaspora, mas(querade), emancipation, celebration, empowerment, masking, movement and transformation. Adéọlá’s evolving practice currently engages painting, pattern and photography heavily rooted in African diaspora spirituality.
Catriona is a photographer, video artist and teacher. Originally from Scotland, she trained at Leith School of Art, followed by Edinburgh College of Art. Catriona is a qualified Art and Design teacher, has worked as a graphic designer, illustrator and photographer, and was awarded the Gold Echo Award from the IDMA. In 2016 she uprooted and upgraded digital visual skills with a PG Cert in Interactive Media from Algonquin College of Arts and Technology, Ottawa, Canada. Catriona works in collaboration with other creatives and organisations whilst continuing her personal practice in photo and video.