A mythical island and thought-provoking questions about the future of rural Wales has shaped Ben Lloyd’s installation at Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
Gwales presents a fictional narrative of a group of people who, after years of being priced out of their family homes, have tunnelled into a stack of big bales to create their new home.
From what’s at hand they try to recreate their culture.
They arrange images of their cultural icons and their last possessions, some significant, some banal.
From the silage bales they brew beer and cut records in an attempt to recreate the good times, but they begin to forget and drift into oblivion.
The title of the installation is taken from the second branch of the Mabinogi.
Lloyd has drawn on his experience of growing up on the St Davids peninsula.
From sources such as Welsh ‘70s pop culture, adventures in derelict buildings, the oblivion of alcohol and Osi Rhys Osmond’s aphorism ‘Cultural Alzheimer’s’, used to explain the forgetting of Welsh identity.
Lloyd lives and works near St Davids in Pembrokeshire. He has exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions, including the British Museum, Liverpool Biennial, and Cardiff’s g39 and Chapter.
His earlier work has focused on utopian colonies, such as the hopes of a far paradise in the US for Quakers fleeing persecution in west Wales (The Road to New York, 2015).
Gwales is supported by the Arts Council of Wales and is on at Aberystwyth Arts Centre until Sunday, 15 October.