Exhibition

Hidden Country: Photographs of the Free Wales Army 1966-68

7 Jul 2009 – 29 Aug 2009

John Hansard Gallery

Southampton, United Kingdom

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Formed in the early 60s, the Free Wales Army (FWA) looked to establish an independent Welsh republic. The group made its presence felt through public demonstrations, rallies, industrial sabotage and extensive media coverage, and was aligned with national separatist movements such as Sinn Fein and Free Basque. Hidden Country draws on the contents of the court files for the Crown Prosecution case against members of the FWA in 1969, which concluded on the eve of the Investiture of the Prince of Wales. The material ranges from police photography to scenes of FWA manoeuvres staged for journalists and film-makers. The exhibition features new prints digitally scanned from the originals, now badly deteriorated, and held at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. Hidden Country reflects on the status of images as document or fiction in the service of State surveillance and propaganda. In doing so, the exhibition draws attention to forms of nationalism and the conditions that bring it into existence and the roles of photography within this. It is a fascinating insight into a largely forgotten moment in British political and paramilitary history.

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