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Alice Briggs spent time in Cwm Elan as artist in residence during 2022. The Cambrian mountains today have been described harshly as a ‘white desert’, devoid of beauty, nature and life - but for the artist they are a place of sanctuary and ‘hiraeth’. In our increasingly polarised society, we struggle more and more with the idea of both/and, that one perspective can simultaneously be as true and valid as another. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so in this case the landscape is both wild/tamed, a desert/sanctuary, a point of extraction/immersion. The multiple layers of the historical, ecological and geographical landscape also became a metaphor for Alice in her life, at a point of personal change, grief and transformation. How the same memory can be recalled with infinite subjectivities; that lives seemingly experienced together can lead to understanding, but also misunderstanding.


With thanks to g39 gallery, Cardiff, the Freelands Foundation, Elan Valley Trust and Arts Council of Wales

Each of these things is true

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Oct 28th – Jan 28th

Detail of cyanotype reproduction map of Cwm Elan, showing the planned Elan dam system. First published in 1901.

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