‘Be imaginative, be ambitious and investigate the potential of the space for yourself’ – this is the message the National Eisteddfod of Wales wishes to get across to artists who are applying for the 2018 Open Exhibition. In Cardiff the exhibition will be held at the main centre for democracy in Wales – in the Senedd.
And as is fitting to its location, it is the most democratic of selection processes. The panel of specialists changes from year to year. Each entry is given a number and, in the spirit of the secret ballot, the identity of the artist is undisclosed as the images submitted are presented to them.
“The Senedd offers a unique opportunity to display the best visual arts to Wales and the world,” said Eisteddfod Visual Arts Officer, Robyn Tomos. “Celebrating excellence, innovation and commitment in contemporary art and crafts, the Eisteddfod Open Exhibition is one of the highpoints of the visual arts calendar in Wales. It offers a reflection of what is taking place at a given time and attracts up to 40,000 visitors annually along with much media coverage”.
The three selectors at Cardiff 2018 will be curator and artistic director, Marc Rees; Director and Curator of Artes Mundi, Karen MacKinnon and Ingrid Murphy of the Cardiff School of Art and Design. Along with selecting the Open Exhibition they will confer the only national accolades awarded to Wales’ artists and makers – the Gold Medal for Fine Art and £5,000 and the Gold Medal for Craft & Design and £5,000. They will also award the Young Artist Scholarship of £1,500 to foster new talent.
Again in the spirit of democracy, during the Eisteddfod the public will be invited to vote for their favourite artwork. At the end of the week, following the count, the artist who has received the greatest number of votes will be presented the Josef Herman Award – The People’s Choice.
“Sometimes the people agree with the selectors’ decision and vote for one of the Gold Medal winners,” said Robyn Tomos. “Other times the people select a completely different winner. Whatever the result, it’s a means of taking ownership of the exhibition.”
The exhibition is open to any person born in Wales, or with one of their parents born in Wales or any person resident or working in Wales for the three years prior to 31st August 2018 or any person able to speak or write the Welsh language. St Valentine’s Day is the important date to bear in mind - to begin with it’s a matter of presenting Jpeg images on USB or disc by the closing date of 14th February. On-line applications will also be facilited in due course). Submissions in all media, both fine and applied art, are welcome, including the moving image and performance.
To arrange a visit to the Senedd:
Simon Bradwick, Visitor Experience Manager
Tel. 0300 200 6261