Rebecca Kelly

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In December we invited applications from the creative women of Wales to create a video for Kathod’s ((Heledd Watkins, Bethan Mai and Ani Glass) new song  – ‘Syniad o Amser’. The entries were incredible and shined a light on the excellent standard of creative work currently being made by creative women in Wales. The one who came out on top with her video idea was Rebecca Kelly. This was his idea…

I grew up along the West Coast of Wales in a village called Aberarth. My upbringing has had a profound influence on the things I value and hold dear. I am passionate about the land and being in nature because I grew up surrounded by it. I long for it and feel grounded when I’m in it. The landscapes of Ceredigion are familiar and comforting to me.

My artistic practice is rooted in the Land Art genre. I thrive on installing work in remote locations. By choosing to commit to the land, I challenge what a studio or gallery can be. The landscape is the foundation of my artistic practice and the elementary materials I collect serve as a catalyst for the work I produce. Natural materials are charming. To me, they are magical and unimaginable. I don’t want to destroy or dramatically change the self-contained quality of the articles I find. Instead, I want to preserve their beauty and become part of their journey by displaying or reworking them in some way.

The video is inspired by a woman called Mari Berllan Bitter. Born in 1817, he grew up on an isolated farm on the banks of the River Bear.

I became aware of Mari when I was seven. We were standing in my neighbours’ living room, and he told me that a witch, called Mari, had died there on the 4th of November in 1898. Mari had a notorious reputation for eccentricity and witchcraft and the locals frightened him. Throughout my childhood, Mary had a foggy affection. Her spirit flowed through the trees where I was playing.

She was present but not obvious. It has only recently become a catalyst for some compelling concerns I have developed about Aberath. Home-born issues that are fast becoming a burden to every village, town and city around the world. The concern that women are absent from the history and identity of place.

The ongoing political protests happening around the world are fueling my passion for this investigation. Raw and visceral claims demand a new reading of history. A history that fits with what is relevant now. This video marks a turning point. Start a journey to shed light on the women of Ceredigion. It is important that we are aware of our female history, that we bring past women into the present to ensure that they are part of the future.

Original video ‘Syniad o Amser’ by Rebecca Kelly premieres on AM on the 19th of January 2021.

Read issue 3 here.
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