Artists in Residence Exhibition: An artists response to Penrhyn Castle.

Published : 15 Apr 2016 Last update : 18 Apr 2016

Penrhyn Castle: Artists in Residence exhibition. 28 April – 2 October, 2016

What happens when you combine three resident artists, a gigantic neo-Norman castle and a history steeped in local conflict?

Over the past five months Penrhyn Castle has been home to three artists, who have been exploring its many facets; from its elaborate architecture to its controversial history.

Now, as this second stage of a three-year project in collaboration with the Arts Council of Wales draws to a close, Penrhyn’s Artists in Residence are preparing to reveal their work for the first time.

Robyn Woolston, Lisa Heledd Jones and Joanne Wardrop will display their work which will include video, audio, photographs, trade union banners and even a casino-inspired carpet, within the castle as well as venues in the local community.

A closeup of a trade union banner created by Robyn Woolston for her 'Strike Penrhyn' installation.
A closeup of a trade union banner by Robyn Woolston

The castle and the community

Undod by Lisa Heledd Jones will feature three strategically placed armchairs facing iconic and important locations in the history of Penrhyn Castle and the local community.

Lisa, who has local family connections with the Castle and its history, describes her work:

“In Penrhyn Castle, and at two sites on Bethesda's high street (Caffi Coed y Brenin and Siop Ogwen) you will be able to sit and listen to short stories made from the voices and sounds of local people and places.”

“The story that you hear in Penrhyn will be different to the stories you hear in Bethesda - though each will reflect on the relationship between the Castle and the community, both past and present.”

Welsh graffiti on local slate, photographed by Lisa as part of her research. (Translation: 'For these slates our grandparents slaved. Good grief''
Welsh graffiti on local slate.


A shared history

But why is presenting these stories through art so important to the National Trust property? Nerys Jones, General Manager at Penrhyn Castle explains:

“We are on a journey here at Penrhyn, a journey to re discover the stories hidden within these walls and beyond, and to explore different ways of presenting these sometimes difficult and emotionally challenging stories to our visitors.”

“It’s no secret that Penrhyn Castle can sometimes divide local opinion because of its history. The project has already opened an important dialogue between the local community and the castle; exploring our shared stories and contrasting cultures from different perspectives. This is a relationship that needs to be nurtured so that everyone’s story is told.”

“We can’t wait to see how the artists have reacted to Penrhyn Castle, its history and its legacy”

The Artists in Residence exhibition at Penrhyn Castle will run from the 28 April to the 2 October 2016.