Cardiff street art lovers will remember the sad news from last October, when an administration error led to the removal of several murals from the columns behind the city centre’s old Debenhams site.
Now Beth Blandford (Blandoodles) Temeka Davies (Noble Sol) and Amber Smith (BeanHead), the artists whose work was removed, have re-created and re-imagined their artwork in spaces within The Capitol Shopping Centre. People will recognise the spirit of the previous artwork, and will get some new surprises too.
The installation, which was again commissioned by FOR Cardiff, took place in April and is now complete. The lead artists were supported by a small team of freelance creatives and young people from the ACT training programme who were also supported to create their own artwork throughout the week. During this time, Capitol gave PWSH the go ahead to create a new piece of artwork on an empty shop as well which has become PWSH HQ for the time being. This was realised by Marcus Smith (whose PWSH work you can also see on Minsky’s) who took inspiration from ACT students to create the final shop design.
FOR Cardiff Executive Director Adrian Field said, “We’re thrilled to have re-commissioned the PWSH street art project and to see it come to life now in the Capitol Centre.
“Working with such an array of talented local artists has been, and continues to be a pleasure. PWSH is just one of many arts and culture initiatives we will fund and deliver over the coming years as we progress with our plans to centre culture in city centre life’.
The PWSH project was created to enable visual artists with a Cardiff connection to decorate their city centre with artwork that celebrates and represents a breadth of local creative talent and diversity – on large public canvasses. PWSH is an ongoing and ever-evolving project, with long-term artwork on show within the city.
PWSH Creator Rachel Kinchin added, “We were blown away by people’s incredible reaction to our project. Many commented that the artwork has brought joy to their day, improved their mental health and encouraged them to explore their own creativity again.
“When we lost the ‘Minsky’s Pillars’ artwork, we were all devastated – but the public reaction was so supportive that we knew we had to re-create these pieces by Beth, Amber and Temeka in some way, shape or form – and we are so proud of what we have created – it’s not easy finding the right spaces within the city centre and the artists and our team have done an incredible job.
“Alongside re-imagining these pieces at The Capitol – we have some exciting and meaningful collaborations and partnerships coming up and we’re applying for funding to continue to bring PWSH to the people and ensure artists and creatives can continue to make work that inspires people and is joyful, whilst also being paid fairly for their ideas and creativity.”
Temeka Davies said, “I love how each time I work with PWSH they push (ha!) me to grow and push for themselves to grow too. This time creating the artwork was different in so many ways, as I already had some experience and knew what public art and my art meant to the public. Also, getting to meet the young adults of ACT and teaching them to work on self-portraits and identity was another amazing experience for me as an artist.”
Catering learner Caitlin Boyce, 17, from Cardiff, said, “After lockdown, this creative project is really good, to bring people together, to do something interesting. I prefer pictures that have messages, so obviously this one has a message to it. It’s really good that it’s about bringing people together, from different cultures.
From this project, I hope to get experience of freehand painting, as I’m interested in this type of street art. I’ve done my own paintings in art books, but never anything like as this.”
Katie Schaffer, Enrichment Manager at ACT, added, “ACT have been really excited to join the PWSH! project at the Capitol Centre in Cardiff to create some amazing art, working with Welsh artists. Our learners have had the opportunity to work with a variety of different people, to explore their creative side and produce work that will be proudly displayed in the Capitol. Thank you to all people involved in providing this opportunity to enrich our learners’ programmes.”