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Swansea streets brightened up by new artists

Two new collections of art created by people across Swansea have gone on show in the city centre.

The work brightens up safety hoardings around the £135m Copr Bay project that will help regenerate the city.

Those involved in the new artworks include young people from the YMCA Swansea’s Young Carers Service plus refugees and people seeking asylum who attend the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery’s Welcome Group.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “I applaud all those involved in these two new collections.

“It’s refreshing to see more public art on the streets of Swansea. Arts and culture can play a significant role in regeneration – and our Central Arts Programme is promoting that.

“The programme is presenting artworks around city streets and public spaces during the city centre’s ongoing £1bn redevelopment.

“The initiative shows that the council is here for Swansea at this difficult time, helping to ensure that the city leads to way out of pandemic.”

The new artworks, brought together by the council’s cultural services team, appear on hoardings around Copr Bay’s north side, next to Iceland and St David’s Church. This site will soon be home to commercial units, homes and car parking; the arena, more parking and new parkland is emerging on the other side of Oystermouth Road.

The Welcome Group is a regular creative workshop run by the Glynn Vivian, for everybody in Swansea. It’s a safe place for refugees and people seeking asylum to learn, socialise and make art.

In normal times, it meets regularly at the gallery. It is run by the gallery’s associate artist Mary Hayman, helped by volunteers. It’s managed by gallery’s learning and participation officer Daniel McCabe and is supported by a grant from the Arts Council of Wales, and the Friends of the Glynn Vivian.

The group’s new public artworks are portraits of friends, acquaintances and relatives.

Mary Hayman said: “Art can change your life and this group helps change lives for the better. Having this work shown publicly is further recognition that our members are valued citizens of Swansea.

“We can’t wait to welcome the group back into the gallery when we can, and we hope that the public who see these amazing paintings will enjoy them.”

Swansea Songs is a project created by artist Soozy Roberts in collaboration with young people from the YMCA.

It celebrates young carers through a series of quirky portraits set alongside song lyrics that reflect the individual characters of the young people represented.

Strong, bold and bright colours are overlaid with text from song titles and lyrics.

Soozy Roberts said: “Music has the power to inspire us, to move us and to make us feel more connected.

“I hope these bright and colourful photos and songs will speak to passers-by in some way and give a little joy or hope.

“During the pandemic the effects on young people and young carers in particular have been enormous. I can’t wait until we can properly meet and support young people again in person – it’s so vital to their wellbeing.”

A young carer is a child or young person whose life is affected by looking after someone with a disability or a long-term illness, often taking on responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.