The Art of Climate Change
By local artist GLENN IBBITSON
You may already know Louise Weldon as the singer with No Mean Biscuit (“a small group with a silly name that plays pop, Latin and swing with a jazz inclination”) or as an actress with Newcastle Emlyn’s Attic Theatre. Now meet her in her new guise as gallery owner of The Seagull in Cardigan. The first group exhibition presented around the themes of climate change is now installed and open to the public.
She says: “My husband Pete and I bought The Seagull about a year ago. I had walked past the premises many times and it always looked so unloved and yet was such a beautiful building. I put a note through the door to see if it was for sale as it seemed unused. I received a call from the estate agents the next day to say yes it was and so there it began.”
Months of hard work followed: replastering walls, replacing the upstairs floor, commissioning local woodcrafters to install handrails and, characteristically, installing an upcycled kitchen area.
So how does it feel now that the first themed group exhibition is on the walls?
“A relief that it’s all up and looks so good. Curating a group exhibition is a big task and I think I had not realised the amount of work involved in bringing it all together.” The show has attracted contributions from artists with regional, national and international reputations, but a generous proportion of wall space has been given over to contributions from younger local people.
“The young have had a tough time of it over the covid period and on top of this we have climate issues that are no doubt causing more anxiety. I wanted the exhibition to express views from all ages from primary school kids to graduates as the climate crisis excludes no one.” Offering assistance to young creatives is central to The Seagull’s ethos. “I would like to promote young artists’ work and give them the opportunity to exhibit and steward their own show.”
The Seagull will be a space for hire for a multitude of creative activities in addition to the art gallery: a children’s reading and drawing workshop; a venue for meetings of the local art society; one-to-one talking therapy each week; and kundalini yoga sessions are being organised. “I plan to offer communal vegetarian pre-event meals for activities taking place around Cardigan too but have been a little distracted by art of late!”
Art has not been her only distraction recently; Louise is deeply involved as a performer with the Attic Theatre in Newcastle Emlyn. She has a prominent role in the upcoming production, Just Supper, which just so happens to address issues around climate change.
“ I play Pru, who has been invited to a social gathering by her former boss’s wife following his recent death. She is a radical environmental activist with limited social skills; it might be a tricky evening! This role is a challenge for me as I am not one who seeks confrontation, whereas Pru is direct and and would never soften her approach to fit in with convention. Playwright Melanie Davies questions how far we would be prepared to go to help save the planet; to consider what our responsibilities are as we head towards a climate catastrophe.”
While curtain up at the Attic is imminent, it has already lifted on the show at The Seagull, offering a wide range of observations on the state of our planet. The work on show is by turns thoughtful, angry, provocative and creative; Pru would surely approve..
Climate Change Exhibition
The Seagull, St Mary Road, Cardigan; Wed-Sat, 11am-3pm, to 3 September.
Attic Theatre, Newcastle Emlyn, 17-20 August
Glenn Ibbitson is an artist and writer, a person of formidable creativity and a great favourite of Pembrokeshire.Online. You will find other articles about him here and more about him on https://www.glennibbitsonart.com/
The Seagull sounds like such an interesting place. I am only sorry that I live so far away.
How lovely that you have found us and had a taste of the great range of creativity in our corner. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Wonderful resilience and organisation Louise Weldon. This Climate Change exhibition is so current, so needed and The Seagull Gallery is a great welcoming space for residents and Cardigan visitors, not to mention you are supporting and encouraging artists of all ages. I absolutely love your enthusiasm. Well done and I hope The Seagull goes from strength to strength.
We are so fortunate to have so many wonderful artists and committed activists in our little corner of wales. Thank you for your interest and we hope you will spread the word.