Field-notes 2

Field-notes 2

Mixed media, Indian Khadi Paper

1 Iwan Bala Nodiadau Maes 2/Field-notes 2 2009, mixed media (ink, charcoal, watercolour) on Khadi paper (handmade paper from India), 75 x 55 cm.
“For me, visual art is a matter of culture, a means by which I can fumble around within my own background and roots, in order to discover some flicker of light. Art is provocative, and needs to question every false certainty and every fabricated icon. After all, history and tradition is the work of man, and is a moveable feast, growing and changing with time. The sign of a strong culture is that it allows for re-invention and a questioning of everything within itself.”

Artist, lecturer, curator, writer, visual arts commentator and cultural activist”, Iwan Bala was born in Sarnau near Y Bala in 1956. His work is rooted in expressing his Welsh identity.
“As the poet T.H. Parry-Williams expresses in the poem, ‘Hon’, I am drawn back with no hope of escape, to the subject of nationhood, identity, culture, and the irrevocable decline of the language that has been a core of Welsh identity in the absence of national independence for centuries.”

“Recent work has amplified the use of maps, diagrams, texts displayed as ‘learning aides’, the use of poetry and quotation within drawings. Words and translations sometimes form the core of the visual work, replacing imagery. Making such work, one is always engaged with an involved level of research in history, mythology, ethnography and literature. In the works of Field-notes and Words produced from 2010, text as drawing, as image, has taken over completely, in an attempt to visually represent the language and poetry of Wales through the centuries. Working collaboratively with poet Menna Elfyn on Field-notes has led me to explore the words that signify this loss of territory and belonging in its abstract and physical sense. The names of places lost in translation, which also means the loss of history and narrative, the loss of the ‘song-lines’ of an ancient tradition, the loss of connections to roots and place that are invested in place names, poetry, family trees and names of writers from the past.”

“I see my work, collectively, as Field-notes, where my thoughts, theories and imagination are recorded. I was inspired by a quote from anthropologist James T. Clifford: 'Perhaps there is no return for anyone to a native land, only field-notes for its reinvention'.”

“Why do maps usually show us towns, rivers and roads? Try creating your own maps (either of Wales or an imagined country) and write on it your favourite writers, artists, musicians, historical figures – rather than place names.” IB
KEYWORDS map, land, sea, places, people, inscription, caption, history, writing, poet, artist, family, heritage, language