top of page

I founded Blaengar in 2006 as an artists group producing challenging and provocative artwork, with the intention of creating opportunities for emerging artists in Mid Wales. Through site-specific exhibitions and events, Blaengar encouraged artists to collaborate on projects that will eventually bolster their portfolio.

Site specifics and the landscape were important elements of Blaengar's modus operandi, while encouraging associate artists to draw on the histories of the chosen sites, amalgamating notions of identity  and place. Blaengar shifted naturally away from traditional exhibiting spaces because of a limited number of meaningful galleries in Wales; it was necessary therefore to create new opportunities and to employ oblique solutions to existing challenges.

This adjustment had several advantages; rather than administrating gallery-anchored projects, Blaengar offered an unhampered experience to artists, freeing up precious time and channelling resources. A large part of that time is spent sourcing grants which led to the Knowledge Exploitation Fund, which in turn funded the two main projects produced to date. An independent approach meant that Blaengar had the freedom to choose projects and collaborators. As the project progressed the group sourced specific sites and landscapes first, and then the funding to produce it afterwards. However, there were some drawbacks - working towards a site-specific goal led to restrictions, for example, health and safety or the protection of the environment in which the work was placed, but the positives far outweighed the negatives.


A key element of Blaengar's working methodology is to facilitate opportunities to exhibit across the disciplines. Although early members of the group were primarily from a visual base, Blaengar also embraced performance and theatrical elements which strengthened its relationship to the Theatre, Film and Television Department of Aberystwyth. 

Groups and collectives are often created by graduate artists as a supporting framing work pre- and post graduation. It is easier to make an impact as a new artist within a group rather than attempting to find opportunities to show work as an individual. It is also powerful networking tool and guaranteed the ability to carry on exhibiting. 

Blaengar was deeply committed to fostering emerging talent. Developing art to be shown outdoors in a public and built environment gave the groups' work a distinct immediacy, which was a huge advantage in capturing the publics eye. The barriers to show contemporary art are broken down by being outside the white cubed space. This has attracted a non-traditional gallery audience, actively encouraging the local community to see the groups work. Without the constraints of a conventional exhibition, the more sceptical art-viewer tends to engage further with this work (this was particularly so with Carwyn Evans's piece Llywernog as part of the project 'Spoilio'. By inviting and drawing the wider community into these projects Blaengar has been able to access funds from the Communities First Trust Fund, and also helped some of the Blaengar's artists to develop a greater working ethos towards the community. 


"Interaction" was conceived when Blaengar set out to find a temporary space in which to show work in Aberystwyth. The built environment became more appealing as opposed to a traditional gallery through the exploration of disused buildings in the town. 

The public area of the town centre, although difficult to tackle, also gave the artists a theme to research and prompted new challenges. These challenges would lead to the creation of works that would capture the attention of the public, while also coexisting  with that environment. The prospect of attracting passers by, without needing to specifically promote the event, appealed to us as a way of building an immediate audience.

Traditionally a place of entertainment, the promenade in Aberystwyth, along with the bandstand, has been used as a platform for the arts for over a century and is a very popular place. the employment of this area as a site for "Interaction" was therefore a significant one. The sea front was an important location for events in the community, however, with the demolition of the King's Hall in 1989, a major entertainment venue, it has seen a decline in popularity.

With the town's main entertainment site removed from the centre the collective community experience deteriorated, a theme which became an important aspect of the exhibition. Many of the artists involved attempted to recreate constituents of entertainment on the promenade, to highlight the relationship between the audience (be they visiting or simply happening upon the art), the performers and the performance itself. This was integral to "Interaction", considering the perception that performance is embedded in society and history. 

While exploring historic themes of the area the artists were further inspired by the Victorian era, the early tourist industry and also contemporary themes, such as privacy and media in public spaces. 

Funded by Arts Council Wales 

"Spoilio" was a project funded by the Communities First Trust Fund in Penparcau and Tregaron Uploands, and by the funding programme, Spirit of the Miners. The Communities First Trust Fund aims to support and type of activity that involves local people through small organisations that benefit their communities. Spirit of the Minrers is a community regeneration project that sets out to create an identity for northern Ceredigion using the legacy of metal mining. 


The project focused on the human, social and community aspects of mining culture. Blaengar's project was aimed a highlighting the history of the mines of North Ceredigion through community engagement - creating visual and performing arts exhibitions, events and educational workshops.

Blaengar invited five artists to create work in the Silver and Lead Mining Museum at Llywernog, with satellite events taking part in the bandstand and promenade of Aberystwyth to promote the event, along with performances at Devil's Bridge, a nearby village. Education activities also took place in ten local primary schools.

The event occurred on a beautiful evening in May to a large audience. For the opening, a performance-tour of the site and the artworks was arranged, split in two in order to accommodate the large numbers. As well as including the work of the five participating artists, leading art historian, Peter Lord, gave a talk discussing Blaengar's place within site-specific art in Mid Wales. Performance studies students from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at Aberystwyth created and improvised piece in the old mine workings. 

Funded by Spirit of the Miners and the Communities First Trust Fund. 

bottom of page