Defaid / Sheep April-June 2019
I'm really bowled over that the Sheep exhibition I curated last year has been shortlisted for an award. Ceredigion Museum’s ground-breaking ‘Sheep’ exhibition has been shortlisted for the Museums & Heritage Awards 2020 ‘Temporary or Touring Exhibition’ category. The only museum of the six shortlisted that’s located outside London, Ceredigion Museum will be up against stiff competition, including the Royal Collection Trust’s ‘Leonardo da Vinci: Life in Drawings’ and Tate’s ‘Steve McQueen Year 3’ exhibitions. The winner will be announced at a virtual ceremony on the 22nd September.
Sheep was a project designed to create a dialogue around the upland landscape of Mid Wales. The exhibition explored the history, heritage and culture as a sheep farming community, and in particular the ecology and future uses of the land in relation to current discussions about land management and the future of farming in Wales.
It represented a huge gear change for the museum by being the first to feature high value loans from a national institution, thanks to grant funded upgrades in security. It included three Henry Moore drawings and other artworks from Tate, which offered an exciting opportunity to see Welsh artists exhibit their work alongside internationally significant works of art as well as Ceredigion’s own collection. Contributing Welsh artists included Ffion Jones, Miranda Whall, Christine Mills, Morag Colqhuon, Carwyn Evans, Marian Delyth and Short and Forward.
The exhibition was accompanied by the ‘Future Landscapes’ symposium, which brought together artists, curators, academics, farmers, environmentalists and others to discuss the issues around the heritage and future of Ceredigion’s uplands. The legacy of this ground-breaking event is ongoing; the Museum hosts monthly ‘Peoples’ Practice’ meetings, virtually during lockdown, to keep the dialogue open.
The exhibition and the surrounding events were funded by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund; created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme to enable smaller and local authority museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections. Further funding has been provided by Arts Council of Wales, The Ferryman Project: Sharing Works of Art which is supported by National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the John Ellerman Foundation and Art Fund.