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Swansea’s Vetch brings community together
The landmark Vetch field in Sandfields, at the heart of Swansea city centre, has been transformed into an urban utopia, as part of a socially engaged artwork created in association with the Wales Cultural Olympiad projects.
Artist Owen Griffiths was commissioned by the projects director, Marc Rees, and has been working with the local community over the last six months to transform a section of the historic field into a community vegetable garden.
‘Vetch Veg’ has already been recognised as a tremendous new initiative for the area, with 103 raised beds and two polytunnels being built, as well as plans for chickens and bees to be kept on site.
The project has seen residents, schools, churches and businesses coming together to offer their green fingers to this unique environmental scheme.
Residents and volunteers have been working onsite throughout the winter months to develop and maintain the space, meeting regularly, cooking soups, building cloches and socialising, whilst developing their plots and tending their hardy winter crops.
Join artist Owen Griffiths this Friday 27 January, at 1pm at the YMCA on the Kingsway, just a short walk from the iconic site, as he discusses the project and the relevance of this kind of artwork in the current financial and creative climate. This event is part of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery offsite activities.
Talking about the project, Owen Griffiths says, “Reconnecting with the process of growing food and self sufficiency is becoming increasingly significant as food prices rocket and financial cuts increase. It is also in some way a shift to a more entrepreneurial and creative society.
Reusing, reshaping and rethinking resources, such as the Vetch, to have a temporary use as an edible land are an obvious and necessary way of negotiating a new sense of land management.”
The duration of the project will be up to 12 months, with a grand finale; the Vetch Veg Flower and Produce Show and a communal culinary celebration, scheduled for June 2012 that will take place around Avion’s nesting site, in front of the National Waterfront Museum.
Griffiths will also be coordinating a program of events, talks, and satellite projects for 2012, including building a shed sculpture which will act as a project resource space/library/
Owen Griffiths has a varied and multi-dimensional practice that stretches across varied media and subjects, driven by inquiry and a need to respond to important social concerns. He works both individually and collaboratively with artist Fern Thomas and with the Swansea based collective Supersauraus. Food is recurring interest in his work, the growing, the cooking, the eating are all explored.
The Vetch Veg project is a participatory and interdisciplinary social artwork, in association with Adain Avion, part of Wales’s ‘Artists taking the lead’ commission, funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council of Wales, included in the London 2012 Festival and part of London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
Vetch Veg is managed by Taliesin Arts Centre in partnership with Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea Environmental Forum and the City and County of Swansea.
For more information on offsite activities at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery visit http://www.swansea.gov.uk/
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