by Artes Mundi
The Welsh capital, as with any capital city, is the commercial and cultural epicentre of Wales. Along with its economic contributions to the country, it’s home to several arts organisations and artists, both emerging and renowned. Caerdydd in Welsh, (pronounced Cayer-Deeth), the city attracts its fair share of contemporary art lovers, not least because of Artes Mundi.
Artes Mundi is one of Wales’ flagship international arts organisations. Founded as a biennial exhibition and prize with a focus on those artists who engage with the 'human condition' in ways which centre on the urgent issues of our times, the next presentation will be in October 2020. The winning artist receives £40,000, one of the largest contemporary art prizes in the UK, with previous winners include Apichatpong Weerasethakul, John Akomfrah, Theaster Gates and Teresa Margolles.
Cardiff boasts several culturally relevant spaces and art events listed below, as curated by Stephen Phillips, formerly Marketing and Communications Officer at Artes Mundi.
We’re based at National Museum Cardiff, home to Wales’ national art collections and host to a range of contemporary shows and installations by the likes of David Nash, Cerith Wyn Evans and Gillian Ayres. The museum is currently showcasing a Photography Season presenting works by four of the most influential artists/photographers in the history of the medium: August Sander, Bernd and Hilla Becher and Martin Parr.
Chapter is a multi-artform venue based in Canton that presents, produces and promotes international art, live performance and film alongside a dynamic social space. Chapter is currently presenting a major three-part project with influential British artist Garth Evans. Alongside a retrospective exhibition and collaborative theatre piece, they have restored and returned his 1972 ‘Untitled’ sculpture to Cardiff city centre, where it was originally situated in the early 70s.
Take a short walk from the civic centre to the city centre and within Queens Arcade Shopping Centre you’ll find Arcade/Campfa, a pair of artist-led spaces showcasing emerging artists from Cardiff and further afield. ArcadeCampfa artist in residence, Alice Banfield is currently exhibiting ‘Walking with My Eyes’.
Further down main shopping thoroughfare Queen Street in Capitol Shopping Centre are the Capitol Spaces; Shift, Sull and Rug. Occupying former shop units, all three are DIY art spaces dedicated to experimentation and risk, with Shift’s cavernous underground space hosting regular artist residencies and live shows.
A 10-minute walk down Newport Road will take you to the end of City Road, Cardiff’s multicultural hub. Head down Oxford Lane (past the Wetherspoons) to get to g39, an artist-led gallery and creative community space and fixture of Cardiff’s art scene since the late 90s, presenting a wide-ranging public programme of activities including regular talks, breakfast clubs and an artist’s library. Devised by artists for artists, the UNITe 2019 season is currently showcasing a programme of artistic experimentation, research, discussions, film, talks and presentations, until 21 December.
Finally, catch the 8/9 bus towards Cathays, Cardiff’s student district, and get off at Woodville Road. From here it’s a short walk to the Former Methodist Sunday School on Fanny Street, the new home of Ffotogallery, Wales’ national agency for lens-based media, with its brand-new exhibition and event spaces. Their current exhibition ‘The Place I call Home’, presenting works from 15 artists from the Gulf, on until the 21 December.
There’s a wealth of public art in Cardiff – head to Cardiff University’s Music building to see a Barbara Hepworth sculpture, The Hayes for Bedwyr Williams’ chess tables and the Admiral Building for S. Mark Gubb’s iconic lightning bolt.
Spit and Sawdust
A unique art space/skate park at the bottom end of Newport Road, regularly throw free pot luck meals at their exhibition openings.
g39 hold a weekly Breakfast Club on Saturday mornings where you can eat croissants, sip juice and chat about art.
A women of colour-led spoken word collective aimed predominantly but not exclusively at the BAME population of Wales hold regular and free open mic sessions, poetry readings and creative workshops at venues across Cardiff.
If you’re green-fingered, Global Gardens are an artist collective with an allotment space who run free workshops ranging from zine and printmaking, creative cookery classes and more at Cathays Community Centre.
Sweet study spots
Grassroots cultural organisation Gentle/Radical recently successfully crowdfunded to open a community and cultural hub at The Wyndham Centre, Riverside, including the Al Mish’aal co-working space, an alternative workspace that nurtures community, solidarity and radical exchange.
Opened in June 2009 by the Manic Street Preachers, Cardiff Central library contains a host ofindividual work stations across its five floors and access to over 90,000 books and even a grandpiano!
If the weather’s good, simply head to Bute Park for your reading –the green heart of Cardiff, the 130-acre park boasts an arboretum, river walks and plenty of green space.
Alternative and art cinemas
Chapter is home to Wales’ foremost independent cinema, with two screens dedicated to the best in arthouse, world cinema, independent film and local Welsh talent.
Catch a train to Penarth for a slice of seaside Victoriana and the Penarth Pier Pavilion, an arthouse cinema located on an old pier in this quaint part of Cardiff.
Adornments for your Calendar
Chapter’s 5-day Live Art and Performance festival returns in November 2020 and launches in April with special announcements and performances.
Millennium Centre’s celebration of the voice in all its forms, returns in Spring 2020