Grace’s Collaborative Art Project with Welsh Poet and Author


Georgian Sixth Form pupil Grace, a senior member of Artways Art Club, has taken part in a special collaborative project as part of her Gold Arts Award. The following is an article courtesy of River of Colour.

'Grace was first introduced to, and fell in love with, the poem, "The Fox in the National Museum of Wales" by the great Welsh poet and author, Robert Minhinnick, as part of A Level English Literature. Mr Minhinnick won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem, for the second time, in 2003, for "The Fox in the National Museum of Wales" which is published as part of his King Driftwood collection.

Grace had the idea to try and create a bridge between the art form of poetry, based on the written word, and the visual art of painting on canvas. She contacted Mr Minhinnick to ask him if he would be prepared to collaborate with her, giving her a deeper understanding of the meaning and, importantly, the original inspiration behind his poetry, and helping her to explore ways of translating it into the visual medium. She was absolutely over the moon when he replied and not only offered her guidance, but was prepared to very generously give up his precious time, face-to-face, so that she could meet with him and discuss his poetry in detail.

After they met for the first time, Grace spent hours pouring over her notes, trying to capture everything they had discussed. She gained much additional insight into the poem and many ideas about how she might best capture it. For example, she discovered that Mr Minhinnick was using techniques, such as alliteration and repetition, to produce layer upon layer of word play reminiscent of the language structures used by the early Welsh bards, in their mother tongue. How could she capture, in paint, something of the flavour of this traditional, rolling, and yet dexterous and light hearted, linguistic banter? She soon realised it was going to be an extremely pleasant but ultimately impossible challenge to even attempt to realise, as a picture, such a beautifully woven and complex piece of art. Grace's tribute to Robert Minhinnick's "The Fox in the National Museum of Wales" is now nearing completion and you can see it, for the first time, as part of the River of Colour exhibition at the River and Rowing Museum, in Henley on Thames.

Mrs Jones, Grace’s English teacher, commented: “It was a proud moment for me, to see how the poetry we have been studying for A level English Literature had inspired one of our Upper Sixth form girls to create something very special.  Grace’s intricate and imaginative paintings contain clever references to certain lines in the poem and speak of her deep understanding of it.”.

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