Faces of Wales
by Mike Owen
Past display archive
8 May - 17 September 2006
This display celebrates a new initiative, launched in 2005, by Axa Art Insurance to sponsor an annual competition to result in a series of photographic commissions for National Museum Cardiff / Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd and the National Portrait Gallery in London. The first commissions were awarded to Ric Bower and Dominic Hawgood to photograph subjects strongly connected with Wales and who have had a major impact on British life and culture. Bower lives and works in West Wales and photographed the writer Sarah Waters, in East London's opulent Lounge Lover bar. Dominic Hawgood travelled to Lambeth Palace to make his portrait of Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.
These works are shown in the context of others recently acquired for the National Portrait Gallery, which also have Welsh connections. They include the actor Rhys Ifans by Paul Stuart and singer Charlotte Church by Jason Bell. A second portrait by Bell shows Bryn Terfel against the backdrop of Nantille Lake, Caernarfon, North Wales, which also celebrates the grandeur of the Welsh landscape. These are complemented by two studies by Mike Owen of two enduring Welsh-born legends, the singer Dame Shirley Bassey, who was born in Tiger Bay and Angus McBean (1904 -1990), a mask maker turned photographer who was born and grew up in Newbridge, near Newport in South Wales before moving to London in 1924. His career is being celebrated by a major retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, which opens in the Porter Gallery on the 5th July 2006 and moves to Cardiff in April 2007.
The Faces of Wales book to accompany the exhibition in Wales by Ann Sumner, priced £4.99 is available from the bookshop.
- Faces of Wales exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff / Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd - from 3 June - 24 September 2006.