World-leading art inspires students on Italian trip


A group of 22 Fine Art students studying at Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), visited a world-leading art exhibition in Venice.

A view of buildings across a canal in Venice, taken through a doorway

The university students travelled to Italy with course tutors to visit to the 59th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition, the largest and oldest contemporary art event in the world.

Titled The Milk of Dreams and curated by Cecilia Alemani, the 2022 Biennale asks pertinent questions such as “How is the definition of ‘human’ changing?” and features artists who explore “the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; and the connection between bodies and the Earth” – all things that contemporary Fine Art students can connect with and react to.

The location of Venice allowed students to contextualise and compare the exhibition’s contemporary art with artistic and architectural masterpieces from the past, within the city’s historical significance as a trading powerhouse between the East and West.

Happy students smiling whilst taking a lunchbreak on the Fine Art trip to Venice in 2022

Alex Duncan, lecturer in Fine Art at UWTSD organised the trip, and says: “First and foremost, the trip gave students the opportunity to experience a different way of living. The Venetian lagoon is made up of dozens of islands only accessible by boat and walking; there are no vehicles or even bikes allowed.

“Venice is a living city, not a theme park, and it contains some of the finest examples of painting, sculpture, music and literary masterpieces the world has ever seen. It’s a microcosmic bubble that provides the backdrop for contemporary artists from all over the globe to share their creative endeavours. I was glad to help the students experience this.”

Owain Sparnon, artist in residence at UWTSD who also attended the trip, adds: “Though the Biennale itself begun 127 years ago, today it literally feels on the edge of contemporary world issues such as the climate crisis as the tidal lagoon laps and overtops the edge of civilisation”.

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