I’m currently in an old Victorian workhouse which has been turned into apartments. I love the experience of being in these old buildings. The walls are so thick that you can turn the window ledges into sofas and you can feel history oozing up from the floors.
After it ceased being a workhouse it became a hospital so no doubt this place has seen more than its fair share of everything. People have definitely died here but then, just up the road, is the site of the old gallows where people were hanged so there’s probably a few ghosts floating around. But more importantly, people have lived here.
I always feel that with old buildings such as these that I’m just borrowing the space. The workhouse was here 150 years before me and will be here long after I’ve gone. I’m just a traveller passing through. This space does not belong to me, it belongs to itself.
I’m considering this quite a bit at the moment in preparation for A Victorian Tapestri exhibition which I’m curating with fellow artist Tim Kelly. We worked together for A Fab Intervention earlier in the year and have exhibited together in a number of other exhibitions.
A Victorian Tapestri exhibition opens at the end of September at Tapestri, Swansea. This unique venue is a bistro and arts café situated in Llys Glas, a former police station and one of Swansea’s most iconic Victorian buildings.
Key landmarks in Swansea sprang up from the 1850s onwards. My workhouse was built in the early 1860s. By the time of the 1879 ordnance survey map the city was littered with hospitals, cemeteries, schools, assembly rooms, and other key municipal buildings which are still standing today.
A Victorian Tapestri is encouraging contemporary responses along the theme of Victorian landmarks in Swansea and welcomes all kinds of archaeological, historical, metaphorical, and allegorical excavations of Swansea’s Victorian heritage. Due to the unique nature of Llys Glas sculptural works will be shown outside in Tapestri’s courtyard and there will be an opportunity for performative artists, poets, and story tellers to contribute on the opening night. Innovative works of all disciplines to be shown inside Tapestri’s unique café, bistro, and function rooms.
Drop me a message below if you feel that you want to take part, or there’s more information about A Victorian Tapestri here.