Gwyn Roberts – Landscapes of Memory, Culture and Identity – Exhibition 2023
Friday October 13, 2023
Private View: Sunday 29th October 11am – 4pm
The Exhibition continues until: Saturday 18th November
In April 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Gwyn fell while gardening, badly injuring his femur and ending up in hospital for 9 days. This was a worrying time, as he was ‘shielding.’ .
He had plenty of time to think. He started thinking of the hardship his grandmother suffered during the last pandemic, the Great Flu of 1918, when his grandfather died. This changed his grandmother’s life for ever. She was left with three children under the age of five and a farm to run. He decided to paint a picture in memory of his grandparents.
After recovering from his accident, Gwyn painted a very large triptych of the wild and inhospitable area of Eryri where his grandfather farmed – the high cliffs below Garnedd Llywelyn, Wales’ third highest mountain.
This triptych is now to be part of the National Library of Wales’ Collection, together with a letter written by Gwyn’s grandfather on the 11th of November 1918 – the words of which are written into the paint. The letter describes the devastating effect the pandemic had on the community. Very sadly, he himself died from the flu ten days later.
After working on this painting, Gwyn has become more and more interested in his family connection with the mountainous land where they farmed, and still farm, surrounded by the beauty and grandeur of Tryfan and the Ogwen Valley. These landscapes have always been some of his favourite subject matters for paintings and now the realisation that there is a very long family bond with this area has made it even more special. As well as the topography, Gwyn feels a deep connection with the stories and culture of Eryri and the descriptive and poetical names of these mountain lands.
Gwyn also has a personal connection with the majestic slate quarries of Eryri – the industry where his paternal grandfather and great grandfather, and members of his wife’s family, worked.
A great deal of Gwyn’s time is spent on the beautiful coast of West Wales, and his pictures capture inspiring views and special memories.