Post War Swansea photo exhibition

A piece I wrote for an interpretation panel to be displayed next to the images which are now on display at The Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea.

The destruction of Swansea in the Second World War left the town centre with the largest bombsite in Wales. Its reconstruction gave opportunity for young architects to refine a style of modern architecture. Due to the restriction of materials the post-war programme of building a new town centre was based on priorities and budget.
A development plan for Swansea was born.

Town planning advanced in the war and Oxford Street and The Kingsway are two large areas of Swansea’s town centre that were redesigned during the 1950s post-war reconstruction process.

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This exhibition of photographs from the 1950s and 1960s are exclusively from Swansea Museum’s collection and have never before been on public display. Swansea artist Catrin James has curated these images and they will play a part in a larger collaborative exhibition of Post War Swansea between Catrin, Swansea Museum and The Taliesin Arts Theatre in the near future.

Swansea city centre is changing again. This exhibition is about reflecting on the square mile of land in Swansea’s city centre where groups of modernist buildings have now stood for over half a century.
It is about considering the materials used, the use of space. It is also about the beautiful design features such as shopfront lettering and coloured tiles as much as the rethinking of new principles in town planning. It is about celebrating Swansea’s post war legacy.

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With many thanks to Swansea Museum and The Taliesin Arts Centre.

Britain on Film: MY TOWN

On Tuesday the 19th January, Taliesin Arts Theatre & the BFI have collaborated for an evening of film called Britain on Film: MY TOWN 
I’m really looking forward to both films shown on the evening. It’s great that this kind of event is happening. It ticks all my boxes.

http://filmhubwales.org/made-my-town-made-swansea

To coincide with this I’ve been asked by Taliesin Arts Centre to curate a small exhibition of photographs from Swansea Museum’s archive to be displayed in main foyer / cafe area of the theatre. I was over the moon to take this opportunity as the evening of film is based on the rebuilding of Swansea after the war, my favourite period in design and architecture.
I am fortunate enough to be able to hand pick images of the town’s post war period from Swansea Museum’s photographic archive for the exhibition. They are fantastic photographs, depicting Swansea’s brand new town centre after a treacherous and austere decade. Mid century modern heaven comes to south Wales.
These images have never been on display before which is exciting enough. Just having access to this archive is gold for me, to choose images for display is a big privilege as Swansea Museum is one of my favourite places in the world.

Here is a crop of one of the many images that will be on display at Taliesin Arts Centre from 13th- 30th January 2015.

I love the lady in the head scarf on the top deck of the bus. I wonder where her stop is?

 

Thank you to Sybil Crouch at Taliesin and Swansea Museum for all their help so far.

Highlights of 2015. Part 1

I was very lucky to have had access to some of Swansea Museum’s collection this year for researching my ‘of time and the city’ exhibition at Galerie Simpson, Swansea. I knew the museum housed the original tiles bricks that made up the sign to the famous Weavers Mill factory and I was so happy to have had permission to display them next to my work in the summer.
The Weaver Mill stood just off the river tawe and North Dock of Swansea between 1897 and 1984. It was the first reinforced concrete building in Europe. Very modern for late Victorian Swansea!

I was very pleased and in awe of these objects as they are such a huge part of the social and industrial history of Swansea. I remember the bricks being on show in the Maritime Museum in the 1980s and on display was the big W of the sign. I often wondered what happened to it…
Here are some snaps of me cleaning dust from the bricks and using museum standard renaissance wax to bring them back to  their original shiny life. I loved doing this job and giving the tiles a good scrub. Having the bricks on display at Galerie Simpson on High Street gave them a new lease of life, interpreting them in a new way and exploring new possibilities of displaying museum objects in different venues.
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‘Ship Building’ a group exhibition at Galerie Simpson

Is it worth it?

Yes it is.

I’m currently showing 2 new prints at Galerie Simpson, Swansea as part of a group exhibition called ‘Ship Building’.
I’m amongst a formidable gang of creative women and I feel our work compliments each other. Artists involved are Anna Barratt, Georgia Ace, Fran Leonard, Jane Simpson, Andrea Powell, Karen Howard Tobin and Patricia Mckenna Jones. We had a great turn out for the opening last week. The support the gallery has from local artists, friends and public is imperative to how a space like this can exist in 2015 and on the High Street of any town and city.

Galerie Simpson is now proud to be part of  The Arts Council of Wales Collector Plan. I can  now possibly afford to buy that Peter Blake print. Dreams can come true.

http://www.artscouncilofwales.org.uk/arts-in-wales/enterprise-and-regeneration/collectorplan/
SHIP BUILDING is on until Thursday 26th November.
I can’t believe it’s December next week. Time to dust down the tinsel.

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MULTIPLIED ART FAIR – 2015

In late October I had a couple of prints on show at the Galerie Simpson stall at Multiplied Art Fair at Christie’s in South Kensington. Jane had previously shown at Multiplied for the gallery and ensured me it would be a great few days and indeed it was. I can’t thank Jane enough for having my work at the fair. On show at the Galerie Simpson stall was Peter Blake, Jamie Reid, Angela De la Cruz & Georgie Hopton. I was in good company.

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I created these two new pieces to be on sale at Multiplied,alongside another three that had been created earlier in the year for ‘Of Time And The City’. I was so overjoyed to have my work on display in the same room as my hero’s Peter Blake and Bridget Riley.

NewTown NewTown
It was a great opportunity for me to get to be involved in such a prestigious event.
For the duration of the 3 day Multiplied fair I was also working on the John Marchant Gallery stall who represents Jamie Reid. This was a great experience to understand how the print world works. I got to meet lots of interesting people including folk rock goddess Linda Thompson.
All the stall holders had either physical or on line galleries. Everyone was so friendly and their content so diverse.

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See you all next year!

LLAWN03 – Llandudno Arts Weekend 2015

The last few months I have also been working towards a new Guerilla Restoration project for LLAWN03  the annual colourful Llandudno Arts Weekend directed by the formidable Marc Rees.

http://www.llawn.org/

http://www.llawn.org/llawn-events/guerrilla-restoration-ii/

My film was shown in a Victorian bathing machine on the sea front and acted as a mini cinema. The passing public and festival goers could then step inside and sit down and watch the film of me cleaning obscure design features from buildings in the town.
The film was specially commissioned for LLAWN03 and  produced and designed by Karl Morgan.

Here is the film >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WivuxNqvIY4
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Shop is open – Prints for sale!

Galerie Simpson are continuing to sell my prints in a limited edition.
All are printed on archival giclee paper from a local printer based near the gallery.

They are available from this link:

http://www.galeriesimpson.com/artists/13/catrin-saran-james/41/to-market-2015

‘Up Town Top Rank’

OdeonStreet

‘David Evans’

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‘Milkmaid’

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‘MayHillTown’

MayhillTown

‘Tuck Shop’

Tuckshop

‘Kingsway’

Kingsway

‘To Market’

To market

‘School’s Out’

Schools Out

Of Time And The City events at Galerie Simpson

As part of Of Time And The City it was great to be able to use the gallery space for events.

We had a great turn out for an evening dedicated to the Free Cinema movement. Something I’d like to do again in the future at Galerie Simpson.

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Here are a couple of snaps from the night dedicated to playing 45s and real ale. It went down a treat! A really great bunch of people bringing records and the gallery became a mini dance floor at the end. Such a versatile space!

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A letter to The Evening Post

Even though Of Time And The City has now ended the legacy continues with this very thoughtful and generous letter from gallery visitor Paulette Pelosi to the Evening Post (see scan below).

I had a lovely chat with Paulette Pelosi and funnily enough I have come across her before. When I worked at West Glamorgan Archives I came across a large collection of photographs that Paulette Pelosi deposited. They were photographs taken by her of Swansea in the early 1990s, a time when I was a teenager and even though it was only 22 or so years ago, that Swansea has now changed so much, so many buildings have disappeared. We talked about this as I recognised her from the photographs as she was in one or two of them.

I could easily date these photographs by the music adverts that were pasted on derelict buildings around town in the photos, adverts for albums that I bought at the time. My eagle eye needing to date things immediately!

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