Refugees motivate Gold Medal winner

3 August 2019

Gold foil emergency blankets printed with traditional Welsh bedcover patterns have won the Conwy County 2019 National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold Medal for Fine Art

The selectors were unanimous that the honour, along with the full monetary prize of £5,000 should be bestowed on Daniel Trivedy - the artist submitted his work for consideration for inclusion in the festival’s Open Exhibition the first time ever this year

According to the artist, the work is a response to the Welsh Government’s declaration of Wales as a ‘Sanctuary Nation’ and helping refugees and asylum seekers.

“Emergency Blankets’ brings two visual elements and their associations together,” said Daniel Trivedy. “The first element draws on the distinctive pattern of Welsh blankets. These blankets and their patterns have multiple associations, commonly; nostalgia, warmth, childhood, tradition, memory, comfort and heritage.

The second element is the gold emergency blanket. In contrast to the first element, the emergency blanket is mass-produced, cheap and utilitarian, commonly seen in documentary photography relating to refugee camps or migrants arriving on the shores of Europe; the association therefore is perhaps one of pain and suffering, but also of elsewhere and ‘others’.”

After a period working in retail, Daniel Trivedy opted to change his career path and turn to fine art. The artist, who now lives near Neath, lectures at Carmarthen School of Art.

“I am absolutely delighted and thrilled to win the Gold Medal. I feel that it validates my practice and that the decision to change my career teb years ago wasn't wasted.”

“We have no doubt that Daniel Trivedy fully deserves the Gold Medal for Fine Art.,” said artist Manon Awst who was invited along with indpendent curator Bruce Haines and art and crafts specialist Teleri Lloyd-Jones to select the National Eisteddfod’s Open Exhibition and award the prizes.

“We were struck by the immediacy and simplicity of these artworks: a series of emergency thermal foil blankets, hand-printed with patterns replicating traditional Welsh wool tapestry, or carthenni. Although the nature of the material is temporary, even throw-away, there is a resonance to the artworks which lies in the multiple readings possible. They signify survival within a specifically Welsh emergency scenario, which could be ecological, political, economic or social.”

Emergency Blankets are on display in the Open Exhibition at the Y Lle Celf in the Conwy County 2019 National Eisteddfod of Wales.