The Spring 2013 programme of public art commissions across Swansea presents twelve artworks across the city, with five new commissions by Pete Fowler, Olaf Breuning, Sinta Tantra, David Long and Philip Cheater. Seven permanent commissions include works by Sean Puleston; Rik Bennett, Bristow Lloyd, Bedwyr Williams, Bermingham and Robinson, Mark Folds and Niamh McCann.
On the facade of a former nightclub opposite the train station, Pete Fowler’s mural Portrait of the Artist as Young Octopus celebrates the poet Dylan Thomas, with quirky reference to his writing and affectionate nods to Swansea.
Sinta Tantra’s Greater Reality Of Elsewhere is a colourful mural of two 6-metre high golden palm trees that references her Balinese heritage. Tantra’s inspiration for the piece was gained through the Travel Sketches of American writer Truman Capote, the nostalgic elements of the past combined with daydreaming of a different future. ”I’m fascinated in the way in which architecture and public art leads ours bodies in certain directions across the city. Primarily, I wanted people passing by to engage with colour and imagery and then to ask more broader questions to themselves such as, how they want to live, build communities and interact with each other.”
Olaf Breuning is exhibiting two monumental black sculptures, covered in irreverant doodles, which appear to be a take on modernist public art. The sculptures, however, are Breuning’s initials on a grand scale, a giant O and B. Sat atop these sculptures are YES? / NO? Are these monumental sculptures that ask two simple questions: Yes? / NO?
David Long has created a heraldic celebration of Swansea entitled, To Begin at the Beginning complete with the opening line from Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood – “’To Begin at the Beginning’ is a literal title that represents a new chapter or even the turning over of a new leaf for the community. The quote from Dylan Thomas holds an ambiguous grasp of the artwork. The ‘beginning’ can manifest itself at any time and in any form and it is only from our collaborative efforts that Swansea will see it in our lifetime.”
Philip Cheater’s Land-marked takes inspiration from Swansea’s architecture and skyline for three large sculptures that appear to both submerge into and emerge from the green outside of the Guildhall. “’Land-marked’ relates to the context of the piece as the sculptures are based around the strong but simple design of the many office buildings that formulate the high street and the centre of the city. Most of the time these buildings go unnoticed as most of the focus is at street level. However many of these concrete facades act as a backdrop for other events. The work for Art Across the City gives the strong geometric shapes a new lease of life by injecting colour to generate a dazzle effect. The location of the work responds to the regeneration of the city, especially as new buildings appear to be emerging from the ground on a weekly basis.”
The Locws International Art Across The City is a partnership project to improve the appearance of Swansea City Centre by commissioning bold artworks for disused or run-down retail units. The project is funded by the Welsh Government, City & County of Swansea and Swansea BID and delivered in partnership with LOCWS International. Art Across The High Street is contributing to the regeneration of Swansea City Centre, making it a more desirable, attractive location. The artworks aim to attract both a local and national audience, promoting tourism and excellent media publicity for the area and issues involved in regenerating the wider UK High Street.
Art Across the City, Locws International, Swansea. 28 March -12 May 2013.