Preparations for my upcoming exhibition on Bardsey Island in June/July 2024 are now well underway. The exhibition will be housed in one of the sturdy Victorian farmhouses, Carreg Fawr, and will feature work by 3 generations of artists. Welsh poet and artist Brenda Chamberlain lived and worked in Carreg through the 1950s and left several beautiful murals inside the house. These are not usually accessible to the public but will be available to view for the duration of the exhibition for both day visitors and those staying on the island. I first stayed on Bardsey as a 6-year-old in the Summer of 1960, a very formative experience away from my immediate family, which left a vivid and lasting imprint on my imagination. My family subsequently visited the island, and it became our regular holiday destination for the duration of my childhood, cementing in me a deep emotional connection to the place. There were no shops, roads, or vehicles; none of the familiar modern comforts of electric lights, TV, or indoor plumbing! Water had to be fetched from the well, and firewood collected from the flotsam and jetsam thrown up by the sea. Instead, we had simplicity and wildness and freedom, but also the security and containment of an island world. The island has changed a little over the subsequent years, with a few more facilities and comforts, but it is essentially the same, and I have been returning year-on-year with my children, and, more recently my grandchildren, all of whom seem to delight in the experience.
My mother, Amelia Shaw Hastings, was a talented professional artist and was inspired by the landscape and sculptural forms of the rocky shoreline. Whilst her focus was primarily on figurative sculpture and portraiture she left a collection of wonderful quick sketches and drawings of the Bardsey landscape and its people, most of which have never been shown. The exhibition will feature a selection of these artworks, created mainly in the 1960s, when the island was still owned and under the stewardship of the Newborough Estate and sustained several local families through farming and fishing.
This will also be an exhibition of my own latest work – a series of semi-abstract oil paintings, nearly two years in the making, that is a personal response to particular experiences, locations, and memories of Bardsey, and that express my enduring emotional connection with and affection for this singular place.
I will post more details of times, dates and how to visit the exhibition in due course. (There are regular day trips to the island throughout the summer – weather permitting!)
More information about Bardsey Island can be found at Ymddiriedolaeth Ynys Enlli / Bardsey Island Trust