Blog: Somehow, we all end up together. C.Ryan

Date posted: February 22, 2017

(By Clio Ryan, Artes Mundi 7 liveguide)

It is often asked ‘what is it that we gain from art?’ and I have found that Artes Mundi can help to answer that question.

The Artes Mundi 7 exhibition, I find, means many different things to many different people. For some it’s a place to take shelter from the pouring rain.  For others it’s their favourite place to bring the grandchildren. It’s an outing before a cup of tea or the perfect setting for a date. Sometimes it’s the place to go for ‘art-pros’ and sometimes a detour on the way to the dinosaurs. To some people Artes Mundi is the main reason to be in the city, while others don’t even know that they’ve entered the exhibition.

Somehow, we all end up together.

For school children it’s a chance to see things that they don’t usually experience, and a chance to talk about subjects that rarely come up in the classroom; why are the buildings so big and why is there so much smoke? What can you make from grains like these?  And why are those people making gestures? Why are they suggesting starting a war and how long does it take to travel by boat from Oslo to Istanbul? With children in the exhibition, through the art, we plan towns, and document journeys at sea. We make parachutes that fall from the sky and build pop-up winter cities. We ask what they’d do if they ruled the world and if they could share one thing with the world, what it would be?

Artes Mundi offers adults the chance to discuss the works and the opportunity to create something themselves.  It encourages families to get creative and tries to inspire college and university students with some of the best art in the world today. We welcome everyone. Our neighbours and those who come from elsewhere, old and young, those who want to learn, to give, to collaborate or to teach. We welcome those who follow us for years just as much as those who stumble upon the exhibition by chance.

Through their work Amy and the Futurefarmers talk of offering an alternative where artists, scientists, biologists, historians and anyone else can come together to make (as they describe it) ‘something else’, perhaps an alternative to an increasingly isolated world. John reminds us that the past can teach us much about today, Neil reminds us to look beyond glossy facades and what seems too good to be true and Bedwyr suggests we value our natural landscape. Lamia reminds us to face the truth and not conceal it and Nastio challenges us to act; challenge his massive ‘advertisement’, step inside the empty gallery or obstructed doorway, take the ‘medicine’, drink the beers or alternatively “just f***ing take it!” Some people smile, some not so much, but either way it always does something that, as Lamia expressed, nothing else can achieve. Nothing else does exactly what art does.

And that’s just the exhibition. Outside of the walls of the gallery, Artes Mundi (along with Valleys Kids and Trivallis) is doing something else too – The Trebanog Project. Here, art works as a catalyst once again. The trebanog project is a place of warmth and a place to learn new practical skills. It’s a place to share meals and here art means working together, creating together: young and old, neighbours and foreigners, artists, makers, city planners, social workers, me and you. Again, somehow art brings us together.

Joreige_Lamia_Photo-JamieWoodley_74

(Photo: Lamia Joreige, After the River, 2016. Installation view Artes Mundi 7, Chapter. Courtesy the artist. Photo JamieWoodley).


Clio is part of a group of 8 Liveguides that provide free daily tours of the Artes Mundi 7 exhibition and devise special workshops for schools, families and adults. They will be writing the Artes Mundi 7 blog throughout the length of the exhibition.

To find more about Artes Mundi 7 download the guide.

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