A gallery reopens with its first public exhibition since the pandemic

The Bay Art Gallery in Butetown is re-establishing itself as a leading independent artists’ space with the opening of their new exhibition “Silent Revolution”.

This is the first exhibit at Bay Art gallery that is open to the public since September twenty-twenty-one.

It will be exhibiting art by international renowned artist, Sue Williams, she has exhibited art in the Artes Mundi at Cardiff Museum.

The other artist is Geraint Ross Evans who teaches at the Royal Drawing School in London. Both artists work locally in Cardiff.

Since twenty-twenty one there have only been private visiting artists projects to prevent inactivity.

Liam O’connor is an artist and the creative director of Bay Art gallery. He is set on creating a community space for artists in Cardiff. The building has been used by artists for more than forty years.

Liam says, “We are at the point where we can now start to use the gallery as its intended use, which is to support artists and artist led projects.”

For the past ten months to a year, Liam and friends of the gallery have been renovating the gallery which fell into disrepair during the pandemic.

Without any funding, they fixed leaks in the roof and the damaged floor. They also replaced the lights to more eco-friendly ones, updated the heating and security systems, and had a team repaint the walls which cost them five thousand pounds out of pocket.

Liam said, “because we are an artists led space and run by artists, unfunded, every penny that we got to do this show has gone straight back into the building.”

The exhibition is supported by Cardiff Council.

In an article on Cardiff News Room, Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events, Cllr Jennifer Burke, said: “Cardiff’s creativity is one of its strengths – that is clear in the work of these two incredibly talented Cardiff-based artists – but if we want culture to continue to thrive here it needs to be protected and nurtured.”

Liam says that they can’t offer funding but they can offer artists a space to create. The need to nurture community art spaces has increased as there has been a 10.5% cut in the Arts Council of Wales’ budget for this year and the next.

Geraint Ross Evans is one of the artists exhibiting his work at Bay Art, he specialises in drawings. He is inspired by the world and draws from observation and imagination.

Geraint said, “When artists are not getting paid they’re having to do that off their own back, which a lot of them are willing to do and are willing to make that sacrifice initially. But I think that as time goes on they need the support and they need the platform so that they can be sustained.”

He said, “if we lose them (artists) to not being able to support themselves, finance themselves, not being able to buy materials, not being able to pay their rent and have shelter. We’re going to lose that vision, that thing that makes life worth living, that makes it beautiful.”

As funding is cut and the cost of living remains high, artists are uncertain about their futures.

The Silent Revolution exhibition opened in February and will be showing until 17th March. It is open for viewing Wednesday to Sunday from eleven to five PM.