A 35 square meter glass artwork for a new community centre, Butetown Cardiff.
Art for Everyone Art for Storytelling Art for the Future.
This artwork was inspired by the historic, cultural and physical nature of Butetown. The design has been carefully conceived to capture the aspirations of the community as shown to the artist through mood boards, workshops and conversations.
A curtain of coloured coal droplets hand painted in beautiful watercolours radiates over the frontage. The seascape is a reminiscence of the turquoise waters, beaches and sunsets of Cape Verde, West Indies or North Africa. The colours create uplifting feelings of joy, friendliness and warmth. With the lights on inside the colours will shine through at night and the community centre will look bejewelled, stunning and welcoming. During the daytime from inside the colours will inspire a celebratory and dynamic atmosphere.
The front mirror 'drawing' adds a much needed softness, fluidity and organic feel into the centre and has been created to inspire conversations and enquiry. The lines are evolved from a modern map of Butetown. The mirror has been used to reflect the outside space, sky and the viewer back onto the building. Tiger stripes within the lines that are Bute Street reference the old name of Tiger Bay and the rows of houses with flags are inspired by the old terraces and this quote from Howard Spring, Heaven Lies About Us (1939)
'The flags of all nations fluttered on the house fronts; and ever and anon the long bellowing moan of a ship coming into docks or outward bound seemed the very voice of the meeting place of the seven seas.'
The houses show an open door and the flags fly proud and high, symbolising the multi-cultural and spirited nature of Butetown. A montage of hand drawn coal boats and merchant navy ships creates a dynamic pattern within the mirror artwork and communicates how Butetown became such a rich and culturally diverse community.