Giving Landscape a Spin
This year, Manon Awst of Pencarnisiog has been commissioned to curate the special exhibition entitled ‘Troelli’ (to spin). In the photograph, the artist’s hand can be seen holding a rock from Parys Mountain with a sketch of Llanddwyn Beach by Charles Tunnicliffe as a background. ‘The exhibition and its associated activities’ aim is to investigate ecological themes that affect the people of Ynys Môn. The object and the image in the picture are noteworthy– during the second half of the 18th century Parys Mountain was the site of the world’s greatest copper industry – where traces of remain. The wildlife artist Charles Tunnicliffe (1901 – 1979) drew the woods at Newborough in 1953 when the pine trees were planted. By now the woodland is an important habitat to the red squirrel. There was great opposition when plans were announced in 2004 to fell the trees across a sizeable stretch of the woods. The consultation process is on going.
Here’s an opportunity, says Manon Awst, to gather information, present research and exhibit artworks that contribute towards the discussion of how we understand the landscape today. On the one hand, landscape is the imagery at the root of the romantic tradition, with a strong connection to the history of landscape painting. On the other hand, it is a physical and material reality that has significant bearing on the way we live today, and asks challenging questions concerning how we should live in the future.
According to the artist, she is reconsidering landscape within the context of the controversial debate concerning the ‘Anthropocene’ – the term proposed for the new geological epoch which acknowledges that far reaching influence of human activity on the Earth. ‘Here’s an opportunity,” says Manon Awst, “to inspire the Eiseddfod audience to reconsider their relationship with the ground beneath their feet, and to look afresh at the environment around them – the land, the sea and the atmosphere. And the title ‘Troelli’? Initially I was thinking of the Earth turning, spinning,” she said. “And the affect that we have on our environment is threatening to destroy fragile human systems and structures, although eventually the rocks, the landscape and the wildlife will thrive again. ‘Troelli’ also suggests change, or the possibility of being able to turn things around and offer a new angle or perspective, which maybe is a more positive meaning of troelli.”
Realised with the support of the Art Council of Wales