Wales Contemporary / Cymru Gyfoes is an international open competition for 2D artwork in any medium excluding photography. Developed by the Waterfront Gallery in association with the Welsh Government, Wales Contemporary seeks to celebrate all aspects of the country by inviting artists to submit work that is inspired by its ancient history, its art history, its heritage, its landscape (rural, urban or political) and its contemporary culture.
Following a call for entries which saw the submission of approximately 500 artworks from across the globe – the UK and the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia, the USA and Canada were all represented – 76 works have been selected for the inaugural exhibition at the Waterfront Gallery in Milford Haven, South Wales from 4 – 30 October 2019. Thoughtful and often surprising, the exhibition combines crisp, photorealistic seascapes with soft, romantic watercolours balancing on the very edge of figuration. Due tribute is paid to the rich diversity of Welsh landscapes, from its glowering mountain ranges to its industrial towns, its valley villages to its rugged coastlines. Welsh culture is equally well represented: highlights include a carnivalesque imagining of the Arthurian legend, an overpopulated Mount Snowdon, and a tongue-in-cheek representation of the much-maligned leek. In summary, the exhibition presents the viewer with a characterful and compelling insight into the many things that make Wales Welsh.
‘Wales has a well-earned reputation for inspiring great artists and this project will further enhance this and highlight the areas of Wales where those interested in art can visit and be inspired in the future. Having attracted such a wide range of entries from all over the world, this exhibition will be an intriguing insight into how Wales is seen by others - and during our Year of Discovery it may well provide a different perspective on our culture, history and landscape.’
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord-Elis Thomas
The exhibition - selected by artist Janette Kerr, painter Ken Maycock, artist Catrin Webster and Stan MacIlvenny OBE - opened at the Waterfront Gallery in Milford Haven, South Wales on 4 October 2019. It now tours to Mall Galleries, London, where it will be available to view from 5 – 10 November 2019. There will be an awards ceremony on 23 October at the Waterfront Gallery - when the following prizes will be presented:
- 1st Prize: £5,000 plus a 3 week residency in Milford Haven (February – March 2020) and a 1 month solo exhibition at the Waterfront Gallery
- 2nd Prize: £2,500
- Prize for artists born, educated or resident in Wales: £2,000
- Young Artist Prize (for artists aged 25 and under): £1,000
- Public Choice Award: £1,000
- Highly Commended: £500