Four UWTSD Alumni granted places on Arts Council of Wales ‘Celf ar y Cyd’ project.


Four alumni students from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David have been granted a place on the Arts Council of Wales ‘Celf ar y Cyd’ project.

Celf ar y Cyd

Toni Osuji, Dafydd Williams, Phillip Cheater and Geraint Ross Evans are amongst the eight artists commissioned to create new work, whilst being mentored by five leading artists who have work in Wales’ national art collection. They’ll all benefit from this scheme in their development as young artists.

The four will receive a grant of £10,000 with 50% allocated to the artist fee for taking part in this programme. During a period of six months between June and September, they will produce new work that will be shared with the public using Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru platforms. During this period, the public will have a chance to learn more about the artists’ and their progress digitally on social media channels and physically where it’s possible to do so. 

Sian Tomos, Director Arts Development of the Arts Council of Wales, said: “This project again demonstrates the strong and innovative partnership that exists between the Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru and which has already been seen in the previous Celf ar y Cyd projects such as Art 100 Celf, NHS Staff Decide and Cynfas.

“In this latest joint project eight artists are being commissioned for a period of 6 months to develop work while being mentored by the 5 exceptional artists. We consider it so important that we invest in this way in early career artists from across Wales, representing a diversity of practice and experience –to develop the potential of their artistic practice.”

Toni Osuji graduated from UWTSD Swansea College of Art in 2018, and is now a lens-based artist based in South Wales. Most of her work explores and celebrates the richness of diversity, heritage and beauty in Wales, but has recently been exploring the ways in which identity is conceived, through understanding the internal and external factors which influence and affect the human condition.

 "I feel very proud to have been selected as one of the eight nominated artists for this amazing project. To be allowed the opportunity to pursue the development of new work and my artistic practice in a supportive environment, is such a privilege and one I’m very thankful for. I graduated with a BA in Photography from UWTSD in 2018 - and their continued support means a great deal to me and my practice as visual artist.” Toni said

Dafydd Williams, also graduated from UWTSD Swansea College of Art and is now working as a technician in the photography department at the University. He works mostly as a lens-based artist, but also uses installation and painting to explore Queer lifestyle and theory ranging from the local gay to international perspectives. As a Queer Welsh Artist, now based in Swansea, he is interested in the dynamics between art and activism in raising awareness of historical and contemporary discrimination towards the LGBTQ+ community, challenging Heteronormativity, and working towards positive social change. 

Dafydd said: “I am feeling incredibly grateful  and excited for being nominated and given this opportunity to simply do what any Artist really wants to do - get paid to create work! The ‘Making New Work’ project (under the umbrella of ‘Celf ar y Cyd’) has provided the financial and mentoring support for me to be able to explore avenues of queerness, specifically my personal queer domestic space and square mile, through photography and installation art. My main goal for this project is to find a new way of making and creating, which I feel I have lost in recent years, by having mentoring sessions, purchasing equipment and supplies, visiting exhibitions, experimenting, and networking. Working as a Photographic Technician at Swansea College of Art has its benefits - I have access to amazing Photography facilities, a supportive team, and a local management system who support personal development, without which I may not even be pursuing a career in the Arts.”

Philip Cheater is a multi-disciplinary artist working in Swansea. He graduated from UWTSD Swansea College of Art in 2011 and through the help of the University won the Brian Ross Memorial Award. He currently occupies a space in College Street Studios, and has been a part of the Elysium Gallery since 2014. Philip has been part of public art projects with Locws International and Hand In Glove, and recently been shortlisted for the Sir Leslie Joseph Young Artist Award.

Philip’s delighted with the news: "After 18 months of galleries and exhibitions being on hold, this project and the funding involved will be a crucial catalyst for my work and how it can evolve. The mentoring will be essential for conceptualising the work and keeping the key themes on track. After graduating in 2011 I was awarded the Brian Ross Memorial Award thanks to UWTSD, have worked as an artist in residence, which helped me to gain technical skills and I am now part of the Alumni"

Geraint Ross Evans is a figurative artist working in drawing, painting and installation, who’s particularly interested in how pictorial space can be used to communicate different visual problems, perspectives and scales. After graduating from UWTSD Swansea College of Art, he then moved to London to study at the Royal Drawing School, where he is now a tutor. In 2019 Geraint moved back to Cardiff, where he now runs his own studio.

Geraint mentioned: “It's such an honour and complete surprise to have been selected for the award; Making New Work: Artists respond to the now. The commission has afforded me the luxury of time and funds to accelerate experimentation and take more risks with the themes and ideas I nurture within my practice. With support and mentoring from some of Wales most established and celebrated artists, I am certainly making the most of the opportunity for critical dialogue and debate that can sometimes get a bit neglected from the solitude of an artist's studio practice.

The work I'm developing for this project is under a general theme of 'a world under construction' and I am experimenting with cartography, world building and figuration, while challenging myself to expand beyond the boundaries of the image to create more immersive experiences. The opportunity to spend the day drawing 'The Dance of Life', a mural by Elsie Mildred Eldridge, currently housed at Glyndwr University in Wrexham has been the highlight of my research so far.

It’s been especially beneficial and not to mention slightly nostalgic to have Sue Williams on board as one of my mentors, who remains as supportive and constructively challenging as she was as my Fine Art lecturer while I studied at Swansea back in 2006-9.”

One of the mentors that selected the artists was Professor Sue Williams, Programme Manager of Fine Art: Studio Site & Context. According to Sue: “We are living in such unprecedented times, where the arts are proving to be even more vital and essential within our society. Now is the time to build a greater infrastructure for the arts and artists, to acknowledge the positive impact they have upon both the individual and our communities. Two important art institutions in Wales have embarked upon a collaboration, to support new and emerging artists and in doing so, to uphold and invest in the future of the artists in Wales.  It gives me great pleasure to be involved with the Celf ar y Cyd project and I consider it a privilege to support the development of new work amongst the selected artists.”

The University is pleased to hear this fantastic news.  Siân Addicott, Head of Undergraduate Photographic Studies mentioned: “We are delighted to see two photography alumni amongst the talented artists selected for this award. This is a great opportunity for Daf and Toni to have their work and potential recognised in this way. During their time with us as students they showed great creativity and originality in their approach to photography.  This award will allow them  to test out new ideas and progress with their practice. On behalf of the department I’d like to congratulate them both.”

Further Information

Lowri Thomas, Principal Communications and PR Officer 

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