The National Library of Wales is pleased to welcome brand new and exciting works of art to the National Art Collection in Aberystwyth.
As part of the Library’s Anti-Racist Project, four artists – Joshua Donkor, Jasmine Violet, Mfikela Jean Samuel and Dr Adéọlá Dewis – have received a commission to create new works of art in response to the Library’s collections, whilst facing some difficult or challenging aspects of history.
The result is new works of art which contribute to the Library’s work to decolonise the collections and which contribute to improving the diversity of the art collection so that it can be a better reflection of Wales.
Joshua Donkor's work is a portrait of the writer Eric Ngalle Charles which will be a valuable addition to the 15,000 items in the Library's portrait archive.
Jasmine Violet has based her work on an image and maps within the Library’s collections, that portray the sugar plantations in 18th century Jamaica that have a Welsh connection, and focuses on the difficult and controversial history of slavery and colonialism.
The new work by Mfikela Jean Samuel – which responds to British Government publicity maps of West Africa that were created in the 1940s, and distributed by the British Government’s Central Information Office – draws attention to that which was omitted from the map and looks at how maps influence our perception of the world.
Dr Adéọlá Dewis has chosen to focus in the connections between the Fari Lwyd and the Jonkonnu festival in Jamaica in her work, using the Library's graphic collections that portray the Fari Lwyd as a starting point.
Rhian Gibson, Director of Communications, Engagement and Partnerships said:
“The work of ensuring that out collections represent the diverse history and experiences of the people of Wales is central to the Library's work and core to our strategic aims. We're extremely glad therefore to welcome these new works, which will enhance representation within the National Art Collection.”
Morfudd Bevan, Art Curator at the National Library of Wales said:
“It has been a great experience working with these four extremely talented artists on this very important project. It is essential that we have open and honest conversations about our collections in order to create improvements and to educate ourselves about the hidden history of Wales.”
During Black History Month, the Library will celebrate acquiring these works by displaying them and with two special events. Joshua Donkor’s portrait will be on display in the Reflections exhibition for Black History Month in the Library; whilst works by Jasmine Violet and Mfikela Jean Samuel can be seen in the Wales to the World exhibition in the Riverside Gallery, Haverfordwest, which runs until 24 February 2024. Dr Adéọlá Dewis’ work will be on display in the Library soon.
On 17 October at 5pm at the Library, the artist Joshua Donkor and the author Eric Ngalle Charles will discuss the portrait, their careers and connections between Wales and Cameroon with the poet Ifor ap Glyn. For full details and to book a ticket visit the Library’s website.
Then, on 19 October at 5pm at the Riverside Gallery, Haverfordwest, Jasmine Violet and Mfikela Jean Samuel will discuss their work in a conversation with Assistant Curator of Maps at The National Library of Wales, Ellie King, looking at the challenges and importance of decolonisation through the prism of maps and art. Read more or book a ticket on the Riverside website.
** Mae’r datganiad yma hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg **
For more information, requests for interview or media offers please contact:
Rhodri ap Dyfrig, Head of Marketing and Audiences, National Library of Wales
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
About the National Library of Wales:
The National Library of Wales is one of the great libraries of the world. Located in Aberystwyth, it is the home of the story of Wales.
Opened in 1907, the Library is the centre of research into the culture and heritage of Wales and the Celtic nations.
The purpose of the Library is to make our culture and heritage accessible for everyone to learn, research and enjoy.
We are a legal deposit library, which means we are entitled to a copy of every print publication in Britain and Ireland, but our collections also include the following:
- 7,000,000 feet of film
- 250,000 hours of video
- 7,000,000 books and newspapers
- 40,000 manuscripts
- 1,500,000 maps
- 150,000 hours of sound
- 950,000 photographs
- 60,000 works of art
- 1,900 cubic meters of archives
About the Riverside Gallery, Haverfordwest
The Riverside is a flagship cultural centre in the heart of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. Opened in December 2018, it features a 21st century library, visitor information, coffee shop and a national government indemnity gallery space, which showcases collections from The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. This high quality facility is unusual and pioneering and is already playing a central part in regenerating the town and wider area of Pembrokeshire.
For more information visit: