Harness Your Hiraeth



Harness Your Hiraeth


About the Exhibition

Harness Your Hiraeth was a group exhibition, curated by James Harper, focusing on the role art plays in preserving our social and personal heritage. This is an exhibition which meanders through notions of nostalgia in order to illustrate the importance of art to a wider audience. The Welsh word ‘hiraeth’ has no direct translation into English though a close representation would be the word ‘nostalgia’. More accurately, hiraeth translates as ‘a longing for a home to which you cannot return’.

In the early 1980s, photographer Colin Thomas documented numerous community events in Wrexham and its surrounding communities. A selection of these photographs were subsequently exhibited in Event (1984) at the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool.

Times change, people change, places change. Through the arts we are able to capture or recall moments in time that would otherwise be forgotten. Photography and filmmaking perhaps play a central role in this act. Using Thomas’ photographs of Wrexham as a point of departure, Harness Your Hiraeth introduced contemporary works in other media that convey a sense of loss or longing.

The late filmmaker and musician Graham Bowers created cinematic works that conjure up feelings of nostalgia towards the Welsh coastline and seaside attractions. Sean Edwards is an artist who works in a variety of media. For Harness Your Hiraeth, his film Maelfa (2014) was exhibited, documenting a since demolished and redeveloped shopping centre on the outskirts of Cardiff.

In psychology, an involuntary memory (or involuntary autobiographical memory) is one that is not deliberately recalled but is triggered by a sensation, often as nostalgic memories. These nostalgic memories can be captured in ways other than photography and film. Przemek Pyszczek uses his colourful sculptures to evoke memories of childhood and playgrounds. They are also reminiscent of communist-era architecture and industry from his native Poland.


Graham Bowers

Sean Edwards

Przemek Pyszczek

Colin Thomas


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