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News article created on 26 March 2015

Montgomery Canal set for new artist-in-residence

Artist Mair Hughes is today announced as the new artist in residence on the beautiful Montgomery Canal in Mid Wales, as part of project aimed at inspiring communities to get involved in art and their local waterways.

Glandŵr Cymru - the Canal & River Trust in Wales, the Arts Council of Wales and Addo have made the appointment as part of a three year programme to create six artists’ residencies across waterways in Wales, between 2014-2016.

The partnership aims to highlight the heritage and historic significance of Wales’ canals, and celebrate and increase their relevance to local communities and contemporary Welsh culture. The project explores how contemporary arts can play a new role in conserving, animating and re-interpreting the waterways.

Futuristic visions

As artist-in-residence on the Montgomery Canal from now until September 2015, Mair will be exploring the canal and the communities it passes through, from Welsh Frankton in the east to its historic, but now derelict, terminus in Newtown in the west. During this period of creative research Mair will be looking for clues and connections in the canal’s history, geography, ecology and architecture. She says: “It is a time of renewal for the Montgomery Canal, a perfect time for both narratives of the past and futuristic visions. There are plans to make further sections navigable, whilst protecting the communities of plants and animals that reside there. 

“The canal was originally designed for transporting lime for agriculture, although it also carried coal and timber. Now it forges a calm, quiet connection between the towns and villages it crosses. In some sections it harbours barges and canoeists, at others it is half wilderness, half long, unspooling water garden. A secret back door between England and Wales, its future holds many possibilities.”

Tim Eastop, executive producer Arts on the Waterways, Glandŵr Cymru, added: “Mair is a highly regarded contemporary artist, with an impressive track record. I’m really pleased she’ll be part of this unique series of artist residencies for Welsh waterways. I’m looking forward to her artistic investigation of the Montgomery Canal and how she will engage people and nature. The work she produces will help increase awareness about this important waterway in Wales.”

About the artist

Mair Hughes is a visual artist based in Newtown, Powys. In 2007, she completed a Masters in Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art. After graduating she was awarded the Barnes-Graham Travel Award by the Royal Scottish Academy, and travelled to Turin to investigate the legacy of Arte Povera.

From 2008 to 2010 Mair exhibited widely in Glasgow including the Project Room, SWG3 Gallery and the exhibition ‘Rough Luxe’ for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art Fringe Programme. She was a member of Glasgow Independent Studios, and a committee member at Glasgow Project Room Gallery. Since 2011 she has worked in Wales, developing research and practice through projects such as ‘Utopian Realism’.

“My art practice is playful and takes many forms, mingling sculpture with photography and site-specific interventions. I respond to places in transition, looking down overlooked side roads for utopian visions that still hold potential. I’m interested in small but significant details that evidence how the meaning of ideas and objects shifts in the present. As part of a process of exploration and visualisation, I seek collaboration and devise activities as a way to test out ideas.”

The first two artists in residence have been Andrew Dodds working on the Shropshire Union Canal and Alan Goulbourne on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. For more information about the programme visit http://www.addocreative.com/glandwr-cymru-the-canal-river-trust-in-wales-residency-programme/