Friday, 24 October 2014

Cardiff Octoberfest

Cardiff's annual "Made in Roath" event, dominating the east side of the city, drew to a close this evening but it is only one of a plethora of major art events happening around the city this month. Coincidence or out-and-out competition, I'm not quite sure. "Cardiff Contemporary", is popping up all over the city till 9 November and has certainly stolen the limelight from MiR. Bigger still is the prestigious "Artes Mundi", attracting an international audience to the National Museum from 24 October onwards. Meanwhile "Empty Walls" gathers over 20 national and international street artists to decorate Cardiff's grey buildings with vibrant murals. On the weekend of 25/26 October Cardiff Open Studios throws the doors open on the remainder of the city's artists. In Cardiff Bay, the Butetown History and Art Centre launches Wales' first exhibition of 'Outsider Art', running until 16th November.

I had to spend several days scurrying back and forth across town because several pieces of my work were on display. My "United Colours of Madiba" painting got its first airing at Roath's SHO Gallery. My photograph of the Howard Gardens Art College campus was used prominently for the publicity and display at G39. In BHAC my "Portrait of a Diary as a Young Idea" fits well into the impressive array of paintings and sculpture on the 'Outsider Art' theme.

Fun though this may be, it is bewildering even for someone like myself who thought they were getting to grips with the artist personalities and groups in Cardiff. One would have thought, with 11 other months to choose from, there would be scope to spread these events out a bit! My heart tells me I should engage with the Made in Roath event, even though (said very quietly) I no longer live in ...erm ...Roath (and now the Roath Independence referendum has voted an overwhelming "YES" I may need a passport and visa to go to work). Made in Roath continues to be ultra popular, community based, democratic and encouraging mass participation and pride in the local area. In contrast "Cardiff Contemporary" goes down the more traditional route of professional artists presenting their work to the public in galleries, pop-ups and (occasionally) street corners. Exhibitions are selective and chosen from within the city's art scene. My head tells me I need to aim to engage with this event and, well, entering "Artes Mundi" is a distant pipe dream!!

Fortunately I can head for one of October's beer based "Octoberfest" events, hopefully numbing my brain to all this choice and confusion!!

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