The National Library of Wales announces its intention of becoming “an actively anti-racist organisation”.
Beating its breast, it says black, Asian, mixed-race and minority ethnic people have been underrepresented in Wales’s heritage and culture.
While colonialism “placed Wales at the centre of systems that created the structural racism and inequality that still exist in our society today.”
What exactly they mean by that we’re left to try to work out.
Accordingly, the library has commissioned four artists – Joshua Donkor, Jasmine Violet, Mfikela Jean Samuel and Adéolá Dewis – to come up with new works “in response to the library’s collections, whilst facing some difficult or challenging aspects of history.”
More guesswork there.
It is all laudable. If slightly woke-heavy.
The only snag I foresee is that the new works will presumably soon go the way of the great bulk of the library’s artistic brilliance and be slotted into racks deep in its storage rooms. Rarely, if ever, to be seen again.
Yet again, the library needs to be pressed to open up. Making works of art available online is just not enough. People want to see the real thing. After all, we’re talking here about publicly-owned art, works which, if they were on view, would spice up lives and generate touristic income.
This great institution would like increasingly to be seen to be at the forefront of Wales’s cultural life.
Hoarding is really no way to make that happen.