Categories
Arts Community Film Outcomes

Ferrytales by Ceri Ashe

playwright

Ferrytales by Ceri Ashe

Ferrytales is a one woman show about people in Fishguard with Irish heritage, written and performed by playwright and actress Ceri Ashe of Popty Ping Productions. The piece was commissioned by Ancient Connections in 2020 as part of our arts commissions programme and explores themes of identity, heritage and connection.

As part of the research and development of the show Ceri sought out and interviewed a number of Irish ‘immigrants’ living in Wexford and incorporated their stories into the play. It also delves deep into Ceri’s own story; brought up in West Wales by an English mother and Irish Father in a village where most people were Welsh Speaking.

How did this shape her and how she views the world?

 

The show was performed at Theatr Gwaun in 2021 as part of the first “On Lands Edge” Festival, another Ancient Connections initiative.

Click here for more information on Ceri’s work or to get in touch.

The following film is a showreel for the play:

Categories
Arts Community Film Outcomes

Pererin Wyf / Is oilithreach mé / I am a pilgrim

ARTIST

Pererin Wyf / Is oilithreach mé /
I am a pilgrim

Pererin Wyf was a participatory arts project led by the arts organisation SPAN arts, Welsh artist Rowan O’Neill and co-facilitated by Irish artists Rachel Uí Fhaoláin from Ceol Mo Chroí and John Ó Faoláin from Traditional Archive Channel. The project aimed to discover people’s connection to home through story and song, connecting to ‘Celtic Diaspora’ from Pembrokeshire and Wexford across the UK and beyond.

The project took its title and inspiration from an 18th century hymn by the prolific Welsh writer William Williams Pantycelyn; though quickly went beyond this to encompass any song which calls you home.

Cocreation is at the heart of how SPAN arts work, the engagement of the participants helped to shape the project and its outcomes, from their contributions to the digital map which took the project in new directions and created new avenues for collaboration to the stories they shared which shaped the exchanges and films.

 

Click here to view the story map.

 

The project commenced with a series of online participatory talks or enquiries into themes of home, hiraeth, cynefin and the experience of the Celtic diaspora. These were followed by online and in-person song-sharing workshops and by two exchange trips which led to Rachel Uí Fhaoláin writing a new song for the project. 

‘Pererin Wyf / Is Oilithreach Mé / I am a Pilgrim’ is a 20 minute documentary showing how the project unfolded:

The new song was sung by Span Arts community choir Côr Pawb as part of the ‘Y Canu Mawr’ event at St David’s Cathedral on May 29th 2023.

Here is the live stream recording of that event:

The project engaged over 200 participants from Wales, England, Ireland and North America, with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Particpants talked about gaining a deeper understanding of Welsh and Irish cultures as well as an opportunity to connect with themselves and others:

“It gave me a space to reflect on songs from my own Irish heritage as well as songs that might mean something to my Welsh sons now.”

 

“The deep connections between Ireland and Wales and the spread of people from both to places around the globe.”

 

“It has been a pilgrimage in itself over the many events.”

The new song ‘An Dara Craiceann’ has been beautifully recorded and is available to watch in this film by filmmaker John Ó Faoláin from the Traditional Archive Channel:

Categories
Archaeology Arts Film Outcomes

Sean Vicary ‘What is this that is coming?

ARTIST

Sean Vicary ‘What is this that is coming?

Sean Vicary is an artist based in Cardigan in West Wales, working across animation, moving image and digital media.

Sean was commissioned alongside three other Welsh and Irish artists to create new work that spoke to the following themes:

  • Personal or collective pilgrimage or journeying
  • Sacred Places
  • Celtic diaspora, ancestral heritage and a longing for home
  • Creative Storytelling that connects North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford

 

Sean chose to immerse himself in the archaeological digs that happened at Whitesands Beach, Pembrokeshire, in 2021, as part of the Ancient Connections Project; and his resultant work is a beautiful series of animations that combine archaeological drawings, voice recordings and collected sounds.

 

The work responds to a month spent as artist-in-residence with Dyfed Archaeological Trust during the excavation of an early medieval cemetery threatened by imminent coastal erosion at St Patrick’s Chapel, Porth Mawr, Sir Benfro. Although initially occupying the role of outside observer, Sean gradually became more directly involved with the dig, until eventually joining the archaeologists and other volunteers in helping to uncover and remove burials. The site has long been a place for gathering; in the recent past it was a choice spot for beach parties and raves, revelers oblivious of what lay beneath the dunes until human remains were exposed by storms in 2014.

 

The archaeologists, with Sean alongside them, worked down through multiple levels of chapel and graveyard, removing over 250 burials until they diminished in number and arrived at an oval enclosure with a central shrine dating from around 750 AD. Here the graves were replaced by traces of occupation; burning, seeds, animal bones, amber working. The shrine decorated with a carved human figure dressed in a tunic with raised stick-like arms, accompanied by early Irish inscriptions.

 

Sean found himself drawn to the archaeological process, which seemed to have similarities with his own art and animation practice, especially the use of a rigorous, repetitive method.

 

In this piece, ‘What is this that is coming?’ Sean has used moving image, field recordings and animation to reflect on his experience and examine resonances between the archaeological and artistic processes. The resulting stratigraphic sequences cut across inner and outer landscapes and evoke timescales that reach beyond our own lifespan: The hand drawn lines of archaeological site plans boil and shift while remnants of Mesolithic fauna washed ashore from a submarine forest are explored in minute detail, reminiscent of images beamed back to Earth by cameras on some remote interstellar space probe. These ecological temporalities suggest contemporary anxieties around the climate crisis and rising sea levels, as we contemplate a possible future as part of the geological record.

The following two films are short extracts from ‘What is this that is coming?’

The full length moving image piece was exhibited alongside other Ancient Connections at Oriel y Parc, St Davids and in Wexford County Hall in February-May 2023. It can next be seen in exhibition at The Turner House in Penarth as part of  ‘Agora’, a group exhibition curated by Cadw and Tactile Bosch which runs from August 3rd to September 3rd 2023. Click here for details. 

Click here to get in touch with Sean or to find out more about his work.

Categories
Arts Film Outcomes Stories

Sylvia Cullen ‘Smugglers & Summer Snowflakes’

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

Sylvia Cullen - ‘Smugglers & Summer Snowflakes’

Sylvia Cullen is an Irish writer, based in Wexford, working in fiction, theatre, film, animation and audio. She was commissioned alongside three other Welsh and Irish artists to create new work that spoke to the following themes:

  • Personal or collective pilgrimage or journeying
  • Sacred Places
  • Celtic diaspora, ancestral heritage and a longing for home
  • Creative Storytelling that connects North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford

Sylvia responded to the themes by conducting a series of community exchanges in both Wexford and Pembrokeshire to gather inspiration for her work. She studied and researched stories and immersed herself in the places and landscapes that were important to her and the participants of her workshops.

Ultimately, Sylvia has created a stunning set of 4 short stories exploring human connection to place in both Wexford and Pembrokeshire. She has recorded these pieces and they are available to listen to as podcasts on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Souncloud.

 

Below shows the four stories, both as podcasts and short films of Sylvia as she reads them out loud.

Click here to get in touch with Sylvia or to find out more about her work. 

 

1. The Maërl Necklace:

Podcast:

Film:

2. The Iron Rose:

Podcast:

Film:

3. The Dark Warrior:

Podcast:

Film:

4. Needle Rock:

Podcast:

Film:

Categories
Archaeology Arts Film Outcomes Reports

Linda Norris ‘Fragment Dresser’

Artist

Linda Norris
‘Fragment Dresser’

Linda is a painter and glass artist based in Pembrokeshire and was commissioned alongside three other Welsh and Irish artists to create new work that spoke to the following themes:

  • Personal or collective pilgrimage or journeying
  • Sacred Places
  • Celtic diaspora, ancestral heritage and a longing for home
  • Creative Storytelling that connects North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford

Linda’s work centred around the idea of pottery sherds found in most people’s gardens that tell a story of domestic life and ordinary people.  Her initial proposal was to get people to send her found sherds with a ///what3words location tag and a story associated with them, however, as she began work it transpired that within the Republic of Ireland, these are considered archaeological artefacts and it would be illegal to do so. Instead, Linda started working with Welsh poet, Emma Baines, to run a series of in-person and online creative writing workshops to which participants brought along found sherds and responded with poetry and prose.

 

“Thank you so much for an incredibly fruitful set of workshops. The poetry we wrote is given a new fragility and dimension by your artwork.” Ali McGuire, workshop participant, Ireland.

 

The handwritten poems were then directly incorporated into Linda’s artwork, the Fragment Dresser. This exceptionally beautiful piece used glass combined with light projection to exploit the relationships between transparency and opacity achievable by sandblasting clear glass.

A video of Linda making the artwork:

Linday chose the dresser as it is an iconic piece of furniture central to domestic life in both Ireland and Wales. It is passed down through generations and is evocative of ideas about ‘home’ and ‘family’. The dresser is a repository for memory and shared experience and is also an item of cultural display.

 

A video of the final artwork:

Several offshoots of the project have emerged, including:

  • Bards ‘n Shards – a piece commissioned by Narberth Museum, creating ceramic pieces responding o the writing that took place in the creative writing workshops with Emma Baines
  • Shards Jewellery – making jewellery from found shards
  • Soil Collection – from archaeological sites to use in forthcoming work
  • Limpets – gilded 1000 year old limpet shells from the St Patricks Chapel archaeological site, excavated and discarded as part of the archaeological dig commissioned by Ancient Connections.

 

You can download Linda’s full report on her Ancient Connections residency below:

Click here to get in touch with Linda or to find out more about her work.