People of the Village

is the title of a short story of mine written for the Imagining History conference at the University of South Wales. Opening Friday 12 November with an exhibition!

As one of the writers invited to contribute I found myself inspired by ‘Welsh Emergency Blanket’ by Daniel Trivedy. Out of all the many items of interest in the catalogue it quickly got under my skin. These blankets are part of ‘an ongoing series responding to the proposal for Wales to become the first Nation of Sanctuary‘.

The artist draws on the distinctive pattern of Welsh blankets, melding designs onto standard gold or silver emergency blankets of the kind issued in time of need, sometimes to the masses. The result is a fascinating conversation, about heritage, culture, and warmth, and the thin protection offered to people fleeing war zones. My short piece is an oddity, but still an echo of this conversation in its own oblique way.

On his website Daniel explains his reasons for wanting to make art with these utilitarian items and there’s a link to a short clip of him as featured on BBC Two: The Story of Welsh Art.

Daniel’s work was awarded the gold medal for fine art at the National Eisteddfod in Llanrwst in 2019.

My story will appear in the pamphlet accompanying the exhibition and I’m looking forward to reading the contributions of fellow writers and seeing the artwork that inspired the texts.

As a Welsh learner I enjoy having information provided in Cymraeg: imagining history/dychmygu hanes. Diolch yn fawr! As usual, ‘dychmygu’ is an example of a verbnoun and means ‘to imagine’ as well as ‘imagining’.

For more information about the exhibition, and links to the conference, please visit Oriel y Bont. The exhibition continues in the Gallery at the University of South Wales in Trefforest until 17th December.


12 thoughts on “People of the Village

  1. Sounds like a terrific and well-imagined and conceived event!

    I was taken with this “As usual, ‘dychmygu’ is an example of a verbnoun and means ‘to imagine’ as well as ‘imagining’.”

    It put me in mind of ‘dysgeidliaeth’ which means teaching and also means learning. I’m very taken with that concept and was so happy to have discovered the Welsh word. I’m no Welsh learner although I do – these days – like hearing the language. It’s great you that you are dysgu’r iaith. (That’s from google translate so I’ve no idea whether it is at all accurate.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dw i’n dysgu’r iaith: dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg. I am learning the language: I am learning Welsh. I think your phrase looks OK, Josie, but am no expert! They’ve done some great exhibitions at USW combining art and text. Recently there was a collaboration between asylum seekers pairing with Welsh people to share their stories. My friend and former colleague Barrie Llewelyn does a good deal of work there … She’s a star. Thanks so much for looking!

    Liked by 1 person

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