There’s more to Snowdonia than a mountain

By | Category: Travel destinations
The floating high  by Anthony Garrett

The floating high by Anthony Garrett

Public art has the ability to capture the interest of millions. Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North draws tens of thousands as do the Kelpies in Falkirk. And look at how many people go to Trafalgar Square in London to see whatever is placed on the fourth plinth.

Wales hasn’t really had any huge public art but now it does, even if only for the 2016 holiday season. In Snowdonia, and with the support of Menai Holidays, landscape artist Anthony Garratt has completed work on High and Low, a outdoor painting installation.

Last year, Anthony Garrett created for Menai Holidays, Four on Anglesey’; a free outdoor summer art installation which consisted of four large 2.5 metre canvases which were painted in situ at  island locations in the North, South, East and West, and left for visitors and residents to enjoy

This time, his installation evokes a unique and compelling narrative about the history, geography and industrial heritage of North Wales. It features two giant canvases, one of which floats on a specially constructed vessel, high on a lake next to an abandoned copper mine. It is a double sided canvas and reveals itself to the viewer according to the direction of the prevailing wind.

A second canvas hangs deep beneath the North Wales’ mountains in a disused slate cavern at Llechwedd, near Blaenau Ffestiniog. Why here? Because the Welsh slate industry indelibly changed the landscape of North Wales and shaped the nature of its communities for generations.

The reason that Bun Matthews, the owner of Menai Holidays, has brought the art to Snowdonia is because she hopes it will encourage visitors to make a deeper connection with the region’s dramatic landscape and the forces that have shaped it. The installation tips a nod to landscape painters like Richard Wilson and Turner, whose dramatic landscape canvases encouraged some of the first tourists to North Wales in the 19th century.

How many people might see the two artworks? Given that it is only on for a limited time, the estimate is for hundreds of thousands. Now that is public art and available in very unusual settings.

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