Y MYNYDD BACH (2021) is an ongoing project that began with a commission to make an object responding to the area of Caernarfon. Five artists displayed their objects in Cei Llechi, a regeneration project through Caernarfon Harbour Trust & Galeri Caernarfon. (Curated by Bedwyr Williams and Rebecca Hardy-Griffith).
I have always been drawn to Y Mynydd Bach (‘The Little Mountain’) in Glynllifon gardens, a hollowed-out hill built for children to perform their dreams and aspirations. Here, a pitch dark tunnel leads you into the centre of the mynydd, where a metal spiraled window in the roof lets in just enough light to illuminate the interior, where toys have been pressed into the curved walls of slate. I think some of the trucks and trains have disappeared now, but the feeling stays with me: running my hands across the deckled edge of a mountain's insides (lots of textures, surprising colours).
There is a potential in a ‘sequence’
the tunnel fastens a path without determining
each instance (in the mynydd) provided something new
if the light was particularly bright,
it would bend
round the corner casting through the spiral
( comfort )
Growing up I realized that the reason the gardens of Glynllifon became my weekend playground as a child, was because of a historical novel my Mother was writing at the time, based on the mysteries of the Newborough family who occupied the house in the 1700's . I am not sure how mysterious the family really were, but as a child I believed our trespassing in various edges of the garden was excusable, for the sake of a good ghost story.
Over the course of a year, I corresponded with Sean Curley, who helped build the Mynydd in 1989. When I asked him to share some words relating to the memory of its construction, one of the things he shared was the following, which he carved into some Welsh slate:
Ioan Bowen Rees
“The three names were instrumental in establishing and supporting the idea of children’s literature ...the whole interior dreamscape and escape of stories. They continued to support against much opposition within the council etc. The mynydd is a cultural punctuation in a bland financial crisis”.
Y Mynydd Bach is an ongoing project
Hir oes y mynydd bach.
Long live the little mountain.