Thursday, 18 July 2013

Last days with Sharmila (until September)...


Sharmila has three exhibits at Powis Castle until 3rd November and so it is vital for the volunteers to know about the work and so she gave a talk to them in the Ballroom where the works are displayed. They seem to be amazed at all the background information behind the work, and what amazes me is how the contemporary work sits so beautifully with the historic work really is a perfect marriage and a real example I think to how historic and contemporary can work together .......WHEN DONE WELL!     ........ makes everything that much more interesting and simply ALIVE and relevant! 

In the afternoon Sharmila gave a talk to the public on the background information of the work and its coke bottle tops! (Sharmila refers to the bottle tops as TRASH!) Lots of interesting questions arose .......yes  it is amazing how an international material such as the bottle tops sit so comfortably with the ancient golden objects of India, yet lots of political questions arising underneath (the contemporary!) ......W W W ! it !

That evening I stayed at Powis Castle and felt I was the bees knees! (I had now long forgotten that it was haunted!)

 .......Sharmila and I  walked in the garden with a few of the staff, it was hot and lets say beautiful and we had such a nice time, so nice.........suddenly Sharmila turned to me and said would I collaborate with her on the work she intended doing for Powis in September ..........could I make some felt as part of the work? ......I won’t tell you more! Otherwise you will know more than me !! 

.........I suddenly remembered waiting at the gate and noticing all the sheep shredding their wool 

....the TRASH    ..................Welsh trash ! 

(it is not collected or used today ...........although years ago it was .......nothing was wasted years ago ! ) 


Sharmila is leaving Powis Castle and  Wales today and Christine is sad!  I have had such a great week .....saw so much , loved every minute. It was good to get to know the Meadow Arts team, Ben from Powis Castle and Sharmila of course.

So, we got up early ....raced out and Sharmila goes to collect the wool at the castle grounds 


............ WAIT UNTIL SEPTEMBER  !


Monday, 15 July 2013

Tuesday was a lovely day and the sheep by the Castle gate were shedding their was shearing time and the sheep  were letting us know .......

I was picking Sharmila up from the Castle as she had a meeting with Meadow Arts and Oriel Davies at Newtown ready for her exhibition in September much to discuss but they all seemed to be buzzing ! ......please don’t miss this! 

..................later that evening I took Sharmila to meet the artists Stephen West and Shani Rhys James which was near where I live ............we had such a welcome, a great evening, eating with a glass in our hands! We chatted about everything until 12.00 pm! We could have gone on a lot longer! Shani is a good chatter and I am right behind her, but we needed an early start on Wednesday!

Shani was keen to hear Sharmila talk about her work and intended to come to her talk on Thursday at Powis Castle.  

It is Wednesday and the plan was to go to the National Wool Museum ....I love museums!.....history inspires me for my own contemporary practice and I love to refer to  this  relevance in an exciting contemporary manner...yes it is all exciting: how we see things differently and put a new light on to historic contexts.

We eventually got going and headed towards Aberystwyth.......... down the coastline towards Aberaeron ...... wonderful landscape -  stopped on route at the political graffiti sculpture  ‘Cofiwch  Dryweryn’ (remember Tryweryn)

....... an important piece of work relating to the drowning of the valley near Bala in the early 60’s for water for the people of Liverpool and it was this drowning of the valley that woke Wales up! It sparked the rise of the Welsh language society and in fact there were no Welsh-language road signs etc to be seen before this time: how the use of Water became a big political milestone.(This was interesting for Sharmila as she wants to do another film relating to water.)

............In a way the people of Liverpool helped us wake up! see the Welsh language which is so old and so dear to me is like the blood stream that carries so much Welsh culture and all cultures need respect and to make the world interesting. Fragile ones in the modern world need thank you Liverpudlians ! 

We were heading to see Jane Beck who collects, sells and exhibits Welsh tapestry blankets, it took us time to find her along a few waindy roads ............but eventually arrived a zinc shed with a welcome, and that big welcome was a  huge absorbent wall of richly colored woollen blankets.

..... a cup of coffee , and Jane with so much passion, and so generous in all her giving of information, we had a great morning: both Sharmila and I loved every minute and both of us were inspired!  We eventually left for the museum but on the way Sharmila felt we had all the information needed at Jane’s for what Sharmila detour back to Aber.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013



I am Christine Mills, a Welsh artist from Mid Wales, and I am delighted to tell you a bit about the last week I have had in the company of Sharmila Samant, an artist from India.

Sharmila has come to Wales as part of the Shakti contemporary art exhibition programme. Shakti is a collaboration between Meadow Arts, National Trust, Oriel Davies and WAVE - Wolverhampton Art Gallery,  exploring the artistic relationship between Britain and the Indian Subcontinent. Sharmila is over in Powis Castle mid Wales for a week responding to the Clive of India Collection and I am simply looking after her, driving her around this green countryside to meet the Welsh(!) and a general companion .........and what a delight all this is ......and in this weather too! Can  you imagine? I feel so lucky!


I picked Sharmila up from Meadow Arts  on Friday , took her for a bite to eat in Montgomery , pointed out where some of my family live (Bunners....the ironmongers) and by early evening we arrived at the big red Castle with its amazing garden, to be welcomed by dozens of steps in which we needed to carry her case up  to her accommodation .............the real good news was that Ben who works there came to the rescue and it was good news as Sharmila does NOT travel light! has to be a new outfit each day! And she does not come without a collection of shoes either!.........and so stylish I cannot tell you.....I felt a real scruff.

The good news was there was a phone signal (occasionally!) but the bad news was that there was no internet ...........and this was not good for an international artist that travels widely.

I later looked at her films and simply loved them .......just my kind of stuff!  ...........tell you more  later.


.....10am I arrived the Castle and Ben took us around the Clive Collection ......W W W....amazing !!!!

fingers were pointing in all was W W W....

and suddenly the atmosphere seemed go very special as if something happened.........the items in the case were special, Sharmilas work was special: what a beautiful marriage of ancient and modern together........layer upon layer of history in all works..... you must see for yourself ....honestly.  

Later we headed for Gregynog ..........the last day of the music festival and the harpist Catrin Finch was playing. So we had a picnic, heard the lecture by Osian Elis and then the concert, it was WONDERFUL, really was.

We jumped in the car and whizzed off to Can Office as the Festival was also on there too: Sharmila was introduced to some of the Welsh poets, some Farmers and the general  buzz. I was busy telling every one, well as many people as possible, that Sharmila was staying in a Castle  but within an hour things changed! ......I took her back and we seemed to be alone in the Castle and this didn't seem such a good idea now after all! They do say it is haunted .......... No this was not for us with our tails between our legs we turned back and headed for Caerlloi, the farm where I live ......yes now where like home as they say ......


A catch up day for Sharmila, and then later to Can Office to meet more of the locals..........including the musicians Sian James and Gwyn, Eleri Mills my cousin ....artist Aled Dolmaen ...farmer and neighbour and many more .......that was fruitful for Sharmila.


In the morning a good few phone calls trying to get contacts with people linking with water.......Sharmila was also intending to do research for a possible film with this subject (see her web site for the film in New Zealand)

Ben took us into the textile store at Powis...

What a morning .........I loved every minute! I could go on .. that evening we went to Pontrobert to visit Nia Rosser