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Art lies at the heart of Welsh Culture

Wales is often regarded as the land of song and we are a passionate sporting nation. In fact, over the next few weeks the World's attention will turn to Cardiff as Wales hosts the UEFA Champions League Finals. Art and literature also have a special place at the heart of Welsh Culture.

Our influence has spread Worldwide from painter Kyffin Williams to sculptor John Gibson who have inspired generations, and our poets and writers such as Roald Dahl and R.S Thomas need little introduction. In 2017 art, literature and music will once again be the focus of a number of events and activities:

[Wounded Amazon and Horse – 1846 - John Gibson cited National Museum]


Hay Day

Thursday 25 May marks the beginning of the 30th annual Hay Festival. It is the biggest international arts and literature festival in the World and there will be as usual, a plethora of speakers from all over the globe, including famous writers, musicians, artists, scientists, politicians and comedians. There really will be something for everyone as artist Tracey Emin CBE and Graham Norton make an appearance, Stephen Fry and Garry Kasparov discuss artificial intelligence, Bernie Sanders talk’s politics, singer Will Young performs and that’s just the start.

The original Hay Festival has travelled five continents, across 30 locations but Hay-on-wye remains the largest annual gathering and this year's looks to be the best yet!

The full programme can be accessed here and it showcases not only that Wales is a great location for events, but that we love our art and literature!

[Cited - Hay Festival]

A Poet from Swansea, continues to inspire!

On 11 May, Australian Fiona McFarlane won the prestigious International Dylan Thomas Prize with her short story The High Places. It is the world's best paid literary prize for young writers of English Literally fiction, prose, drama or poetry, and serves to highlight how Dylan Thomas and other Welsh writers have influenced the World. In fact, judges noted the echoes of Dylan Thomas in her work and Fiona has herself lauded Thomas as an inspiration, having listed his 1945 poem Fern Hill as one of her favourites.

The Prize is awarded in partnership with Swansea University, who aim to celebrate creativity, identify and nurture talent and to achieve international excellence. Our Universities are fortunate to have a wealth of excellent literature, created in Wales and abroad to draw upon and international students from over 170 countries are choosing to study in Wales.

[Fiona Mcfarlane – cited Swansea University]

Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice

Since 2003 Wales has had a presence at the World leading festival for the visual arts the Venice Biennale, one example of how Wales is actively promoting its contemporary culture worldwide. This year Welsh sound and vision artist James Richards, who was previously nominated for the Turner prize in 2014, has been given a platform on the world’s most prestigious international stage.  

Commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales, James will showcase a sound installation with work by students of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, still images and a film amongst other visual art at his exhibition.

Singer of the World

The performing arts will also come to Wales between 11th and 18th June in the esteemed BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2017 competition for the best international young opera singers. The Main competition will take place at St David’s Hall and the Song Prize recitals at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where some of the most talented students from around the world are educated.

With assistance from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, singers such as Tenor Konstantin Lee from South Korea, Baritone John Chest from the USA and Mezza Soprano Sioned Gwen Davies from Wales will seek the top prize, which is supported by the Cardiff University School of Music.

[National Museum in Cardiff - Cited the National Museum in Cardiff]

See and learn

As a proud and passionate country, we like to show off our history, that’s why our national museums are FREE to visit. The National Museum in Cardiff is the home of the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings outside Paris, which includes Renoir’s famous Blue Lady, La Parisienne, Rodin’s The Kiss, Vincent Van Gogh's Rain Auvers and Monet’s Water lilies paintings.

But Wales offers more than just the opportunity to view art and literature, we also have a platform of support (link is external) for artists who live in Wales and to nurture talent, including numerous opportunities for Welsh and international students in our higher education centres. 

[William Dyce - Welsh Landscape with Two Women Knitting - National Museum Wales]