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Going for gold; Wales Millennium Centre is counting down to its 10th birthday celebrations this year by launching an exhibition showcasing the work of National Eisteddfod Gold Medal winners. Karen Price takes a peek.

SINCE opening its doors in November 2004 with a royal gala, the Wales Millennium Centre has established itself as one of the world's most iconic venues.

Thanks to its striking architecture, the Cardiff Bay building renowned for hosting popular West End and Broadway musicals is often mentioned alongide the likes of the Sydney Opera House and New York's Guggenheim Museum.

While it's regarded first and foremost as a stage for musicals, it also showcases Wales to the world through its programme in the intimate Weston Studio, its exhibitions and links with its resident companies - from Welsh National Opera to National Dance Company Wales.

So it seems apt that the WMC, which is this year staging Wicked and War Horse, should celebrate its milestone anniversary with an exhibition featuring the cream of the crop of Welsh artists.

Fittingly titled Aur (Gold), it will display the best art from Wales from the beginning of the 21st century - those who've won the top art awards at the National Eisteddfod. While the work of 10 of the Eisteddfod's Gold Medal winning fine artists will be on display at the WMC, neighbouring venue Craft In The Bay exhibit the work of 10 Gold Medal winning craftmakers.

The Eisteddfod Open Exhibition, Y Lle Celf, is considered to be one of the pinnacles of the visual arts calendar in Wales, aiming to honour excellence and celebrate the commitment, vision and innovation of practitioners of contemporary visual arts in Wales. The Gold Medals are among the few national accolades awarded to Wales' artists and makers.

"We're very pleased in our 10th year to be working on this unique new exhibition with The Makers Guild in Wales and the National Eisteddfod of Wales," says Louise Miles-Crust, the WMC's Head of Programming.

"It's a first to have these artists and makers showing together in one exhibition, and we're incredibly excited by the high calibre and range of work that we'll have on display. Aur truly does showcase the very best of what Welsh arts and crafts has to offer to the world."

The National Eisteddfod's Visual Arts Officer, Robyn Tomos, adds: "Is there a better way to celebrate a 10th anniversary? I'm certain that the public will be thrilled by such an exhibition and artists, both emerging and established, will be inspired to participate in the next Eisteddfod's Open Exhibition."

The WMC show will include the work of last year's Gold Medal fine art winner at the Denbighshire and District National Eisteddfod, Josephine Snowdon, whose work was first exhibited at the Wales Millennium Centre during the Graduate 2012 exhibition.

It was through the exhibition that Snowdon first heard about Y Lle Celf (The Art Space), the open exhibition for visual arts at the National Eisteddfod. After submitting her work, she went on to secure the coveted Gold Medal. A considerable number of the artists taking part in the Aur exhibition have gone on to collect further honours following their achievement in the Eisteddfod - from the Hunting Art Prize to the Jerwood Painting Prize - while others have been shortlisted for the Artes Mundi international art prize.

Several, including Bedwyr Williams and Peter Finnemore, have represented Wales at the Venice Art Biennale. A number of Gold Medal winners for Craft and Design have represented Wales at SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art + Design) in the USA. Many have also regularly represented Wales at the international art fair for contemporary objects, Collect, at the V&A, London.

Aur (Gold) runs at the Wales Millennium Centre and Craft In The Bay, Cardiff Bay, from tomorrow until March 16

CAPTION(S):

Pamela Rawnsley - Vessels

Anne Gibbs - To Be Elsewhere (Harvest)

Peter Finnemore - Wall Bird

Mari Thomas - Rebirth

Natalia Dias - Oil Wreath

Josephone Snowden - Fall

Elfyn Lewis - Bodlondeb

David Hastie - The Bridge Between
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 17, 2014
Words:626
Previous Article:on show exhibitions.
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