Mary Lloyd Jones- First Language

13 Jan 2007 – 25 Feb 2007

Oriel Mwldan

Cardigan, United Kingdom


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The theme of this exhibition is the minority endangered languages of Cymraeg and its sister languages of Breton, Cornish, Irish and Scottish Gaelic.

By making visual links with the written word, with the ancient literature of Wales, Ireland, Brittany and Scotland, with prehistoric carvings, the Ogham and Bardic Alphabet, I hope to draw attention to the issue of language loss.

My aim is that my work should reflect my Welsh identity and membership of a minority, my relationship with the land, an awareness of history and our oral and literary traditions.

Using oils on canvas and mixed media on paper, I search for devices that will enable me to create multilayered works. Digital printmaking techniques combined with painting has enabled me to produce large and small scale works incorporating material from the National Library of Wales collections, and material from Brest University, The Irish Academy and Trinity College, Dublin. Through juxtapositioning texts and other found material on painted and marked surfaces, the exhibition creates a celebratory procession of images, configurations and compositions.

Individual pieces make reference to historic figures that were instrumental in preserving Welsh manuscripts for prosperity : Ieuan Fardd, Lewis Morris, Edward Lhuyd, Iolo Morganwg and Sir John Rhys. Those familiar with Welsh literature will recognise quotations from " Y Gododdin", "Taliesin", and "Y Mabinogi".

Reading ancient or foreign texts can best be tackled using a peripheral or oblique form of looking, a reading between the lines. The work is a manifestation of "the other".

This exhibition can be read as a map that can enable those at the centre to reach the periphery.

As a painter, my vocabulary is a collection of marks. These can be memories of hillsides, cloud shadows, leaves in the wind or rockfaces. To these have been added graffiti on walls, the Ogham and Bardic alphabets and the spirals, zig zags and linear inventions of prehistoric carvings which represent values that are in stark contrast to our global technological age.

The work in this exhibition attempts to draw back the curtain to reveal and celebrate the wealthy deposits of minority languages and cultures and to build a bridge between the visual, oral and written means of communication.

If Cymraeg and Gaelic are not to follow the lost megalithic languages, those who only speak a global language need to value the rich cultural diversity which remains unseen and overlooked.

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