Cymylau Tystion – Clouds of Witnesses

Cymylau Tystion
Dros naw mis, mae pobl cymuned fach amaethyddol Bro Cegir a’r Fron Goch yn Nyffryn Dyfi wedi bod yn agor eu drysau i groesawu dwy wraig ifanc i’w plith. Mae Naomi Heath, o Lanafan yng Ngheredigion yn artist digidol a sain, ac mae Ciara O’Flynn o Swydd Kerry yng ngorllewin Iwerddon yn gerflunydd ac artist celf weledol. Mae’r ddwy wedi bod yn codi waliau cerrig, yn symud tom, yn bwydo defaid ac ŵyn, yn gyrru tractorau, yn gwrando ac yn dysgu. Maen nhw wedi bod yn gweithio hefyd â phlant ysgol gynradd y fro. A thrwy hyn i gyd mae pobl y gymuned wedi bod yn rhannu te, teisennau, chwedlau, atgofion, syniadau a’u hwyl gyda’u hymwelwyr. Mae’r artistiaid wedi ceisio bod yn ddrychau i’r gymuned ac adlewyrchu bywyd y dyffryn mewn ffordd onest a hardd – a thrwy hynny dod ag ystyr newydd, mwy annwyl a Chymreig, i’r term “community engagement”.

Clouds of Witness
Over nine months, the small farming community of Bro Cegir and Y Fron Goch in the Dyfi valley has opened its doors to welcome two young women. Naomi Heath, of Llanafan in Ceredigion, is a digital and sound artist; Ciara O’Flynn from County Kerry in the west of Ireland is a sculptor and visual artist. Over these months, they have been helping build stone walls, digging manure, feeding lambs and sheep, trying their hand on the tractors, listening and learning. They’ve spent time, too, working with children in the primary school nearby. People in the community have been sharing tea and cakes, stories and memories, ideas and good fun with the visitors. They, in turn, have been becoming mirrors of the community, trying to reflect people’s lives in a beautiful, honest way, and thereby throwing a very different light on the phrase “community engagement”. Meic Llewelyn

Shown in Moma Wales 2014
Pop up version shown in Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Skye, Scotland 2015
Shown in The Old Railway, Lekunberri, The Basque Country 2015
Shown in An Lab, Ireland 2015 

Also a residency at Ynys Enlli was a part of this project.

Three days of facilitation on performance and understanding of place were donated by Theatr Felinfach – Facilitated by Catherine Young

This was a years intensive project.

For this project I created a soundscape of the local area using sounds recorded by myself, children at school and a local sound artist, Richard Gott. The aim as to create an audible map of the area.

Also produced was a zoetrope, built by a local farmer and designed by me. The concept was to collaborate on skills. Farmers often collaborate naturally, they each other all year round, shearing, winter, feeding, cooking, threshing and building. Aeron Pugh built the zoetrope, using waste material from the farm. Metalwork very important to this family. The children created abstract drawings of themselves in a session at Glantwymyn school.

Also created was abstract maps which I facilitated the children to do. Borrowing techniques from geo-psychography I encouraged the children to draw round their hands creating their own maps that showed their own visualizations of their local area. The used charcoal which is of course very tactile. Their teacher used this as an opportunity to teach them trans- curricular subjects: Geography, literacy and numeracy.

Inspired by a conversation with a farmer, who told me that “all tractors have faces” I used the fragment of conversation to perform a filmed response of me being a tractor. This was a film I created for specifically for Alun, he was a huge inspiration to me. We both love Massey Fergusons, perhaps we have different reasoning for it i.e I think Masseys are cute, he feels they are reliable and comfortable.

18 or so photographs were taken by me of the community, with maps drawn across the landscapes of their face contours. This may have been the most challenging piece for me as I wanted them all to see how beautiful they were to me. I used part of the land not belonging to them to demonstrate the fact they collaborated.

One of the more “ethnographic” elements, was the objects borrowed from the community, I borrowed objects that had a story related to them and displayed them against a welsh idiom – pobol yw’r lle, people are the place. Each item had a history and was precious to each participant.

I also borrowed poems from Ann and Gwyliym Fychan – poems about the area and one about Iraq written in cynghanedd. This is a type of poetry which is untranslatable in English.
I then hid the poems in a teapot, which you had to listen to with earphones.

We then fed everyone cake and tea and listened to the school choir sing.

The show was opened by Nick Cappaldi, the chief director of Arts Council Wales.

This project would have not been possible without – Everyone in Darowen, Meic Llewelyn, Theatr Felinfach, Ysgol Glantwymyn, Moma Wales, Enlli Trust, The Laura Ashley Foundation, Celtic Neighbours, Windmill Trust, Richard Gott and so many more.

This project would have not been able to continue to develop and grow without the support of Welsh Arts International, the people of Lekunberri and so many more

“Whats the secret of a happy marriage Eunice?”, she replies “A shed” – from research