Amgueddfa Blog

Each Thursday evening in May, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales are hosting Lates: PITCH BLACK, an online festival of art, film, and music that aims to celebrate Blackness.

In this blog, Gabin Kongolo tells us more about what to expect from her commissioned performance piece, titled 'NDAKO' that will be featured in the second evening of Lates: PITCH BLACK on 13 May 2021.

For more information on Lates: PITCH BLACK and to purchase a ticket from just £6 per event, click here.

The two playlists below are just a small insight into the NDAKO experience and I’m excited to share this cine poem with the world on Thursday.

These playlists, which have been curated by my Mum and Dad, were fundamental in the process of creating NDAKO (Home). These songs reminded me of my childhood and also what we have now as a family in the current moment. It was also beautiful for me to hear songs that I haven’t heard before that my parents love during this process as it allowed me to further our relationship through the medium of music. Essentially, having my Mum and Dad as my muses for this project, has given me new life and a new relationship. I hope they enjoy NDAKO when they see it as I’ve said they can’t see it until the 13th!

 

Dad’s playlist

The music in this playlist reminds me of my journey from Congo all the way to Wales. From Koffi Olomide to Ya Levis, this music speaks to me like no other music can. Listening to these songs, remind me of what I had and now what I have. 

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0GwvTtxOxfAWEKkd0Ah0ac?si=aaa712acc4f64f9e

 

Mum’s playlist

My playlist for NDAKO contains music that I enjoyed whilst my kids were babies. This period of time is when I felt most at home and complete zen. There’s also music in this playlist that I enjoy now with my sons when we sing and dance in the kitchen! These songs bring me joy and remind me of the gift of life that I have.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4uMr2zIsuFCQ2YvkYIjzmJ?si=cb917a0887a14ba0

 

Amserlen Hwyrnos: Y FAGDDU ar 13 Mai 2021

Amserlen Hwyrnos: Y FAGDDU ar 13 Mai 2021

The National Museum Cardiff presents a new and exciting event this May. Their Lates event series returns on 6th May with Lates: PITCH BLACK.

Every Thursday in May, explore Black identity through the lenses of four unique voices. With interactive workshops, Q&As, DJ sets and so much more, this festival will open up the conversation around what it means to be Black.

Kate Bryony sat down with the curator, Umulkhayr Mohamed, to discuss the festival and why it’s important for white people to engage and learn from the events.

 

My name is Kate Bryony. I’m a student journalist based in South Wales. I love sharing my passion for culture, art, and entertainment, as well as travel.  

Find me on Instagram @katebryony or Twitter @bryonykate. 

 

Can you tell us a little bit about the event?

 

Lates: PITCH BLACK is an online festival of events that will celebrate Blackness as boundless and infinite. The series includes multi-artform commissions that will interrogate the impact of the British Empire and its culture on Black people and their history, whilst exploring new ways to dream collectively.
 

Lates: PITCH BLACK presents events that will be running every Thursday evening throughout May 2021. It will include bold new work created by our PITCH BLACK artists; Gabin Kongolo, June Campbell-Davies, Omikemi and Yvonne Connikie. Commissioned by National Museum Cardiff and Artes Mundi.

Alongside that, it’ll present artist Q&As, interactive workshop sessions, film screenings, DJ sets and exclusive Black History tours of the National Museum of Wales Collections, as well as extras from the Artes Mundi 9 exhibition.

The artists

June Campbell Davies artwork is titled 'Sometimes we’re invisible' and is a performance-based inquiry into the presence of Black people in Art from National Museum Cardiff’s historic art collection. Explored using languages of Dance, Symbolism and Imagery & references to Colonialism, the work will be accompanied by with a soundscape produced by Ffion Campbell-Davies. Set in a transformed National Museum Cardiff’s historic art gallery, that has been dressed in the remnants of otherwise hidden pasts. The scene is set for Campbell Davis to begin revealing through movement the weight of ancestral connections.

Gabin Kongolo's cine poem is titled 'NDAKO (Home)' and reveals the poetic nature and experience of coming to Wales from Congo as refugees. The work explores the refugee experience in relation to dreams, struggles and an evolving sense of identity from multiple people who are from and have now left the Democratic Republic of Congo. NDAKO (Home) is based on testimonies given by Kongolo’s Mum, Dad, Uncle and Auntie as well as fellow filmmaker Horeb Mubambo. The visuals reflect the sentiments that have been shared through candid conversations between these individuals and Kongolo, as well as places that will be familiar to Cardiff’s Congolese community. The words become a lyrical distillation of the intimate details of what it means to move through the world as a displaced person.

Omikemi audio-visual artwork is titled 'Dreaming Bodies' and has been developed out of an a Black-centred somatic inquiry for LGBTQIA+ disabled folx. The inquiry participants, those who contributed to the inquiry, explored embodied activities such as life drawing, body poem and elements of Qi Gong and Capoeira Angola. The Dreaming Bodies workshop poses many questions including ‘what do we need and desire individually and collectively, at this time and what kinds of practices, communities, places and things would make our lives more sustainable and joyful?’ In the pursuit of increased agency and possibility, a sense of community and care resulting in an artwork that engages with the idea and implications of body supremacy.

Yvonne Connike's film is titled 'A time for New Dreams' and takes its name from a book by Ben Okri, a collection of essays on how the world is and how it could be. The work is an experimental and intergenerational manifestation of the dreams of the Windrush generation in Wales. Filmed in Newport and based on archival material and new testimonials. The work ‘A time for New Dreams’ reflects on and the ambitions the Windrush generation held by as Invited Citizens, as well as the racism they endured upon arrival. Moving through time, the film demonstrates how the recent Windrush Scandal has resulted in these dreams being turned into waking nightmares. So, right now, this is a time for new dreams.

What makes this particular event series so special?

We are collaborating with Artes Mundi to bring about this festival, which has been a really exciting collaboration. It’s meant that the artists we commissioned from Lates had the opportunity to draw from engaging with another National Arts Organisation in addition to exploring the National Collections of Wales during their research and development phase. This lasted for a couple of months and it really helped inform the commissions that the Lates artists ended up producing. This was really important; we wanted the artist commissions to really nurture the artists we worked with so that they could go forward and produce more great art as the potential for this is there for each of them to do this.

Also, this is also the first time that Lates is going online, meaning that people who live too far from National Museum Cardiff to come down for an evening event no longer have to miss out. Despite us having to move online this has turned into a real opportunity. We decided to shift the regular one-night event to four events happening each Thursday night throughout May so as to give our audiences even more amazing content ranging from artist Q&As, interactive workshop sessions, film screenings, and DJ sets!

Why is this festival so important?  

One of the ways that white privilege reveals itself, culturally, is the discomfort that some white people have in engaging with art and culture that doesn't centre around their lived experience. Mainstream culture is organised in a way that actively marginalises non-white people and their experiences. It’s for this reason that I feel that it is important for white people, in particular, to attend this festival as it won't only be an engaging experience but an educational one for them.

Even more specifically I think white Welsh people would really benefit from attending this festival as there is parts of the programme that show very specifically how Wales has benefited from Black people and their contributions to Welsh and British society. It’s something that sadly is too often overlooked. 

What type of people will enjoy this festival?

These events are for anyone who understands the importance of engaging with Black art and Black history, beyond just Black History Month. It’s also for people who want to see national institutions show up and showcase the experiences of marginalised communities. It’s about understanding that this is what these institutions should not only be doing, but also that they are uniquely positioned to do so with the wealth of knowledge and resources that they have. They can and should share with these communities.

I dreamt up this festival back in 2019, long before the latest resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Since that happened last summer, we have been shown and witnessed so much Black trauma and we paid attention, as we should. That being said, I truly believe that we should also invest in celebrating the beauty that is Blackness. Black lives don't only matter they are also worth celebrating, commemorating, and exalting, like all other life, and this event is for anyone that agrees.

 

What inspired the idea behind this event series? 

Well, Amgueddfa Cymru- National Museum Cardiff launched the Lates events a couple of years ago now as a part of their public programme. Each version of Lates having a different theme. Space and Dino being two of the previous themes but following the same general offering as an 'after hours events' that gave people a chance to experience the museum and its collections in a new way and artists a chance to work with the museum in creating artistic responses to these parts of our collections and the event's theme. 

And with that in mind, I approached my colleagues with the idea of doing a Lates events that really highlighted, in a celebratory light, Black History as it connects to Wales's Black communities, back in 2019! So as the lead curator of this festival I've been dreaming up this festival for a long time, and really looking forward for it to be starting next week.

 

How is the idea of ‘Blackness’ celebrated across the festival?

Well, first and foremost, it centres on the perspectives of Black people throughout the programme. From myself as a Black curator, leading the curation of the programme, to the Lates artists, workshop leaders, the films we are screening and even the DJs and their DJ sets. This is really important for a number of reasons, but perhaps the central reason being that we need to carve out space to showcase as many individual experiences of Blackness as possible. This allows us to show, rather than just tell, how vast and varied the so-called 'Black experience' is. We aren't a monolith, despite having some shared experiences. We can't celebrate Blackness while simultaneously only provided limited view of it. 

 

What makes this festival for everyone? 

I should say, I've spoken a lot about the art that this festival is showcasing. I appreciate that art can often be elitist and exclusionary but with the way that we have presented these commissions, we have thought of what we can do to make sure the art can be engaged with by any and everyone.

 As following the presentation of each artwork there will be a Q&A with the artists themselves. This means anyone attending will have the opportunity to engage in a conversation around what they just experienced and have the artist share what went into the making of their work and elaborating on the themes they explored through their art. 

 

What about the event are you most excited about?

There is so much to be excited for! We have a really packed programme for each of the four evenings. Naturally, the four artist commissions are the main focus of the events, as each event will start with us premiering them.

The quality of the work that these amazing four artists have produced is such a gift, really. The nuance and perspective that they have poured into the subject matters that each of their art works explore really exemplifies what we set out to achieve when we were dreaming up Lates: PITCH BLACK.

 

LATES: PITCH BLACK begins on May 6th with June Campbell-Davies.

More info/Tickets can be found here

 

 

 

 

Mae projectau dan arweiniad pobl ifanc ar draws yr amgueddfa yn rhan o gynllun Dwylo ar Dreftadaeth, sy'n bosibl diolch i Grant Tynnu'r Llwch, Cronfa Dreftadaeth y Loteri. Diolch i'r Gronfa ac i bob un o chwaraewyr y Loteri Genedlaethol. 

Youthled projects across the museum are part of the Hands on Heritage initiative, made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund's Kick the Dust Grant. Thanks to The Fund and all our National Lottery Players - keeping our fingers crossed for you! 

Each Thursday evening in May, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales are hosting Lates: PITCH BLACK, an online festival of art, film, and music that aims to celebrate Blackness.

In this blog, June Campbell-Davies tells us more about what to expect from her commissioned performance piece, titled 'Sometimes We're Invisible' that will be featured in the first evening of Lates: PITCH BLACK on 6 May 2021.

For more information on Lates: PITCH BLACK and to purchase a ticket from just £6 per event, click here.

 

The source of my piece came from an experimental work I created a few years ago around exploring the presence of black Victorians, its was a solo I performed using the Movement style that lends itself to Japanese Butoh, where the movements are extremely controlled [slow motion] or intensified [changes in dynamics], allowing the performer to internalize, transform momentarily through this luminal process. And so from the start, I decided that whatever movement material I created, I would use this form of movement Style throughout the piece. Which is a challenge for dancer and audiences alike to stay connected and absorbed.

The Space in Gallery 4 is an open area giving space & light I envisaged my work centered between the organ and the large oil painting.  So when in March 2021 I was able to begin rehearsals in the Museum, I wasn’t sure how I was going to present my solo-My movements alone couldn’t sum up what I had unearthed, I turned my focus to selecting photos for the projector in the hope that what I couldn’t convey in movement the images would help to cement the subject matter.

I knew then that I didn’t want to appear already dressed in Victorian dress, but was drawn to the African print fabric I wanted to start there and explore that journey, entering and exiting the space. Connecting to the rope on the floor spread out into 5 or 6 branches signifying family lineage or tribe. Once that was established I felt something was need even before that, maybe representing a kind of sculptural, spiritual mythical

Entity, Which came out of the silver representing crossing water, refined metals.  The West African deity Yemoja in Yoruba culture, originates from Nigerian folkloric religion and is associated with water, purity, fertility the giver of life and death, which has traveled with those from captivity to the Caribbean, Brazil, Cuba & Southern states of American. Their belief system clashing & mixing with Christianity. Silver being a kind of refining metal symbolically connects with me in terms of what Africans & my Ancestors had to go through over 400 years of Slavery.

But it's never clear cut the stain runs deep for those of us who are of mixed heritage, my father's family tree reveals that his grandparents and great grandparents on his father's side were Scottish and French plantation owners of Grenada. Those that remained in Grenada after the abolition of slavery were disinherited if they married outside their race, and so Religion played an important part in trying to convert enslaved people to Christianity and trying to keep the races apart. The wealth generated, helped to build  Churches and Cathedrals, the Stately homes and mansions in Britain all through cultivating & processing Sugar Cane.

So later in the choreography the book I hold up is woven in red and reads ‘ Objects of Desire’ and symbolically serves as a bible, pushing down and suffocating all involved in this form of human trafficking, chained and packed close like sardines. Branded separated given new names. forced to give up their religious practices and take up Christianity. 

So the piece begins by shedding off one layer revealing another and putting on garments in a kind of ritualistic journey. So as the rehearsal process developed I began to collect items that may be useful to experiment with.  At first, I only had a notebook, music system, a blanket to sit on the floor to warm up, improvising with short movement sequences.  

In the next sessions I brought in more props like rope and used it to outline the space, to create a right angle. Another piece of rope was placed on the floor to use as an umbilical cord. And decided that this rope was where I would explore ‘the Struggle’ giving birth, the enslavement, the suffering, the torture. All in the name of sugar

The following session, I needed to find another stimulus to help generate more material,  there were a few chairs in the space and so I used these just to play with improvisation, it was not my plan to have the chairs in the piece but eventually they became symbolic elements and helped to define the space, and restrict the performance area, helping me to drive the narrative forward. The chairs became landmarks, continents, and seats of power as I moved around them. I explored my solo dance within the triangle [Trans- Atlantic] sometimes with the dress and other times without, I couldn’t decide yet until near the filming date. By then sections seemed to organically drop into place. The dressing and undressing became part of the ritual and transformation.

During the early periods of rehearsals, I used pre-recorded music to help create atmosphere & develop short choreographic moments. I knew for the actual performance I wanted a soundscape that had voice, text & natural elements. So I contacted my daughter.

The Soundscape was created by  Ffion Campbell-Davies, a Welsh multidisciplinary artist based in London.  Our conversations were through email for this project, both of us busy with other jobs we didn’t really need to communicate at long lengths because we share similar interests and we have worked together on several projects so there is an understanding and respect for each other's practice. Ffion also gave me choreographic notes and directions which was crucial at this stage. The Soundscape really helped to bring the entire piece to life adding another layer and giving the body of work context, alongside projected images. Text punctuated like bullet points from Professor Sir Hilary Beckles's speech on Reparations stung the air like deadly darts.

Now in Victorian dress, I leave the Space, An imprint from the past. The wheels of fate keep turning & turning. I exit.

Lates: PITCH BLACK is presented in partnership with Artes Mundi.

Dechreuodd ymchwiliad Bylbiau’r Gwanwyn i Ysgolion yn 2005 ac mae wedi bod yn cyflwyno disgyblion CA2 i wyddoniaeth, newid hinsawdd a’r amgylchfyd naturiol ers 16 mlynedd. Gwelwyd sawl her yn ystod project 2020-21 a fu’n ysbrydoliaeth i ni gyd weithio mewn ffyrdd newydd a dyfeisgar.

Mae ysgolion ar draws y DU wedi dangos penderfyniad a gallu amryddawn wrth fynd i’r afael â heriau a achoswyd gan y pandemig a’r cyfyngiadau a ddaeth yn ei sgil. Rydym yn ddiolchgar i’r holl ysgolion a barhaodd i gasglu a rhannu data tywydd. Fe wnaethant hyn yn aml drwy ofyn i ddisgyblion sy’n byw gerllaw’r ysgol i fynd â’r offer tywydd gartref. Roedd y disgyblion hyn yn gyfrifol am gofnodi ac uwchlwytho’r data ar ran eu hysgolion yn ystod y cyfnod clo.

Byddwn ni’n cwrdd â rhai o Wyddonwyr Gwych Bylbiau’r Gwanwyn i Ysgolion drwy gofnodion Blog. Ein Pencampwr cyntaf yw Riley, sydd wedi bod yn cofnodi darlleniadau tywydd ar gyfer Ysgol Gynradd Stanford in the Vale.

C. Sut flwyddyn wyt ti wedi ei chael yn y cyfnod clo?
A. Dwi wedi cael blwyddyn gymysg, dwi wedi bod yn falch i fynd nôl i’r ysgol achos doeddwn i ddim wir yn hoffi dysgu o gartref. Roeddwn i’n hapus i weld fy ffrindiau i gyd!!  

C. Pam wyt ti’n meddwl fod y project yn bwysig?
A. Dwi’n credu fod y project yn bwysig iawn. Yn ogystal â helpu gyda sgiliau mathemateg, mae hefyd yn mynd â chi mas i’r ardd i gael hwyl.

C. Sut wnest ti helpu i gynnal y project?
A. Eleni dwi wedi bod yn helpu gyda’r project drwy wneud y mesuriadau tywydd o gartref. Dwi’n credu bod hi’n bwysig i gadw’r project i fynd hyd yn oed yn ystod y cyfnod clo!

C. Beth wyt ti’n ei fwynhau am wneud mesuriadau?
A. Dwi’n mwynhau gweld y gwahaniaethau yn y tywydd bob dydd, dwi’n hoffi sut ti’n gallu cael diwrnodau amrywiol iawn o ran tymheredd a glawiad. Mae pob diwrnod yn wahanol!

C. Beth wyt ti wedi sylwi am dy fesuriadau tywydd a blodau eleni?
A. Dwi wedi sylwi eleni fod gyda ni rai dyddiau poeth iawn gyda rhai tymhereddau yn cyrraedd hyd at 25 gradd ym mis Mawrth!!  

C. Beth wyt ti’n edrych ymlaen ato fwyaf wedi’r cyfnod clo?
A. Y peth dwi’n edrych mlaen ato fwyaf yw gweld teulu a ffrindiau eto!! Mae’n teimlo fel gymaint o amser ers i fi ei gweld nhw!!

Diolch Riley.

Diolch i chi am eich holl waith caled Gyfeillion y Gwanwyn,

Athro’r Ardd

 

Shwmae Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn!

Mae nifer ohonoch wedi yn sôn yn ddiweddar bod eich Bylbiau Bychan wedi blodeuo sy’n wych!  Mae amser yn dod i ben i lanlwytho eich data blodeuo i’r wefan Bylbiau’r Gwanwyn i Ysgolion os nad ydych wedi yn barod.  Y dyddiad cau yw dydd Gwener Ebrill 2ail, sydd hefyd yn Ddydd Gwener y Groglith felly gallwch fwynhau picen y Grog ar ôl lanlwytho’ch data!  Sicrhewch fod eich data blodeuo wedi ei lanlwytho erbyn y dyddiad yma i sicrhau fod pob Cyfaill y Gwanwyn yn derbyn eu tystysgrif Gwyddonwyr Gwych!

Wyddoch chi fedrwch adael sylwad wrth lanlwytho eich data blodeuo a thywydd?  Di wrth fy mod yn clywed am eich profiadau gofalu am eich Bylbiau Bychan felly plîs cadwch y sylwadau'n dod trwy’r wefan Bylbiau’r Gwanwyn i Ysgolion neu ar Drydar.  Dyma ambell o’ch sylwadau o’r wythnosau diwethaf:

  • “Ar ddiwrnodau heulog mae’r blodau crcoys yn agor fel sêr” – Dosbarth 2, Coastlands Primary.
  • “Braf yw gweld sut mae’r blodyn yn cau wedi tywydd oer ac agor wrth i’r haul ddod allan!” – Amy, Stanford in the Vale Primary.

Arsylwadau arbennig Cyfeillion! Mae rhai blodau yn fregus a byddant yn cau i amddiffyn eu hun rhag y tywydd oer a all eu niweidio.  Wrth i dymereddau codi maent yn “agor fel sêr!”

Mae Ysgol Henllys yn sicr wedi cael canlyniadau cennin Pedr cymysg:

  • “Roedd fy un i yn dal iawn” - Aneurin
  • “Roedd fy un i yn denau” - Emily
  • “Roedd fy un i yn dda iawn nes bo’r gwynt yn ei dorri” - Oliver

O diar, mae’n flin gen i glywed hynny Oliver! Yn sicr fe gawsom ni gyd gwyntoedd cryf yn ddiweddar sydd yn gallu fod yn beryglus i gennin Pedr tal.  Llwyddoch chi gyd dyfu blodau ac nid chi sydd ar fai.

  • “Agorodd fy mwlb i heddiw ond mae rhywbeth wedi bwyta’r petalau.  Mae nifer o’n bylbiau wedi eu dwgyd gan wiwerod yn ystod yr hydref a gwelsom ni rhai ohonynt yn gwneud ar ein camera nos!” – Alexandra, Livingston Village Primary School

Nid dyma’r tro cyntaf i mi glywed am ladron blewog yn dwyn bylbiau ac yn anffodus nid dyma’r unig sylwad o’r Cyfeillion yma yn sôn am hyn.  Anghofiwn weithiau fod bylbiau a phlanhigion hefyd yn fwyd i greaduriaid eraill.  Yr unig les yw eich bod wedi sicrhau pryd o fwyd i anifeiliaid llwglyd!  Ni allaf gredu eich bod wedi ei ddal ar gamera – oes gennych lun allwch rannu?

  • “Mae’n debyg fod ein bylbiau yn y ddaear wedi agor yn gyntaf ym mis Chwefror a rydant yn fwy o lawer na’r rhai wedi eu plannu ym mhotiau.  Rydyn ni gyd wrth ein boddau yn gwneud y prosiect yma a rhaid rhoi canmoliaeth arbennig i Riley (cyn-ddisgybl yr ysgol) am helpu Mrs. Finney gyda’r arsylwadau tywydd a glawiad yn ystod lockdown” - Mrs. Finney, Stanford in the Vale Primary School.

Arsylwad diddorol iawn - mae gan fylbiau sy’n tyfu yn y ddaear mwy o fwynau a gwagle i dyfu na bylbiau sy’n tyfu ym mhotiau felly rydant yn aml yn blodeuo’n gynt ac yn tyfu’n dalach os ydynt wedi eu cysgodi rhag y gwynt.  Rydw i wrth fy modd clywed eich bod chi gyd wedi mwynhau gweithio ar y prosiect eleni ag am ymdrech wych gan Riley!  Darllenaf eich holl sylwadau hyfryd ynglŷn â’r tywydd a garddio a diolch o galon am helpu Mrs. Finney gyda’r gwaith dros lockdown, rwyt yn Gyfaill y Gwanwyn anhygoel!

Mae’r flwyddyn yma wedi bod yn anodd i bawb ond rydych chi gyd wedi gwneud gwaith anhygoel ac mae gweld gymaint o flodau hardd yn dystiolaeth o’ch holl waith caled.  Diolch o galon unwaith eto Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn, athrawon a rhieni!  Gobeithiwn agor ymgeision am Fylbiau’r Gwanwyn 2021 – 22 yn dilyn gwyliau’r Pasg, felly os ydych wedi mwynhau bod yn Gyfeillion eleni gewch chi gyfle gofalu am ragor o Fylbiau Bychan tymor nesaf!

Garddio Hapus!

Athro’r Ardd.