Swansea shines

Posted: April 23, 2012

Whilst growing up in Cwm Tawe I had a bit of love/hate relationship with Swansea. Neath was closer to Alltwen were I lived but I didn’t want to adopt the small town as my closest urban metropolis and Cardiff was but a distant dream so Swansea won and with its slow simmer gradually won me over.

The City may have been unfairly known as pretty shitty but I reckon it’s pretty special and has become even more so after my many recent visits for the numerous Adain Avion associated projects. Field trips to rediscover its varied vernacular and buried beauty for beneath the rust and the dust lies dormant matter and material…waiting for a shiny Giant to prod, probe and sift… well a silver wingless plane to instigate and infiltrate!

Hence Swansea becoming Adain Avion’ inaugural nesting destination.

Avion will arrive in Portsmouth via cargo ferry and be driven to Swansea; pause in front of Wales’ oldest museum institution, Swansea Museum (whilst being serenaded by a local Scout group playing a classic reimagined rock anthem on the hand bells). Then, via procession the plane will be pulled along Oystermouth Road (which we have to close on both sides) by the Ospreys to ‘nest’ in front of Wales’ latest purpose built museum institution, The National Waterfront Museum.

Following a ceremony in which Avion’s Spanish owners Transumante initiate me as its temporary custodian or Captain, I will then invite my Mam and Max Boyce to be the first passengers to board followed by the gathered crowd, then a small toast with a specially brewed Otley ale ‘PilotO’ (Spanish for pilot) to wish it a marvelous migration through Wales.

Back to today, hurtling passed Port Talbot steel works towards the urban oasis that is Vetch Veg, an incredible project, which I think, totally embodies Adain Avion’s aspirations.

Adain Avion is catalyst for creative contribution from community groups and contemporary artists, an opportunity to create new and unusual alliances between sport and art. Avion is a giant silver object that acts as a mirror, reflecting the close environment back in on itself; magnifying the square mile and magically transforming the seemingly mundane, neglected or forgotten. It terms of transformation Vetch Veg is exemplary, it’s extraordinary how much the surrounding Sandfields community have embraced it, the VV veterans  vigour and drive never ceases to amaze me, and their home made cakes are delicious!

I remember meeting Owen (Griffiths, VV lead Artist) in the Kardomah about two years ago to talk about what his contribution to AA could be and he mentioned the Vetch as a long term burning ambition and I said “LETS DO IT” AA being the perfect platform; the spark to reignite a site and reanimate a community via an art work with great integrity. A tremendous sporting legacy, a visionary local artist, a co-producer with passion and balls (Sybil Crouch), a solid rock of a creative producer (Sian Thomas); all within Owen’s square mile and a stones throw from my own. Perfect!

Pretty cool city I say.

Shine on Swansea and viva Vetch Veg!