Small Town Inertia @ The Workers

Small Town Inertia @ The Workers

Small Town Inertia. © Jim Mortram


Jim Mortram discusses his acclaimed photographic work Small Town Inertia with Paul Cabuts at the launch of the exhibition of the work (see below) at the Workers Gallery, Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valleys.

On the premise that austerity is a political choice, Mortram has recorded people from his hometown of Dereham, Norfolk whose lives have been blighted by benefit cuts to the poor, sick and vulnerable. His work provides testimony of the ongoing damage to lives brought about by government policy.

Jim Mortram (via Skype) and Paul Cabuts will discuss the acute struggles that many face drawing parallels between experiences in Mortram’s hometown and those of the Valleys of South Wales. Several questions emerge around the use of photography:

  • How can a photograph pictorially represent the lasting sense of pain through austerity?

  • What approach is used in making such work?

  • Who are these photographs for?

  • How can photographs of distress change anything?

A limited number of copies of Jim’s accompanying book Small Town Inertia will be available to purchase on the night.

small town inertia book

To allow The Workers Gallery to plan for numbers, you must RSVP to attend this event. Thanks.
RSVP: with ‘RSVP - JIM MORTRAM TALK’ in subject line.

Small Town Inertia Exhibition
20 June - 27 July 2019 at The Workers Gallery

Gayle Rogers, Resident Artist & Gallerist at the Workers Gallery in Ynyshir explains the background of this special photography exhibition…

“We saw the work of social documentary photographer J A (Jim) Mortram and his ten year documentation of his experience of being a full time carer (living in a glorified shed in his parents’ garden) and the others he has met who have been badly affected by austerity. His award winning and acclaimed work 'Small Town Inertia' is a mirror of some of the experiences we are having and some of the lives of the people we see on a weekly basis.

We were delighted that he felt our gallery & community was exactly the right place to show his award winning and acclaimed work. We have been actively fundraising to bring the show to The Workers Gallery and from 20 June - 27 July we will be exhibiting Jim's work. We know it will be a raw & difficult show for some people to see - but it is a very important body of work and it is amazing for us to be showing it in our small gallery tucked away in the valleys”. 

Please Get Involved
We want as many people as possible to see the show.
We are hoping that individuals, third sector organisations, support groups, mental health and welfare organisations etc will be inspired to create events that will be a vehicle to discuss the issues raised by the show throughout the run of the show and beyond.

 We want it to make a difference.

 This exhibition is part of the Rhondda Arts Festival (RAFT) running 6 June - 13 July 2019.

See more of Jim’s work from the project on his website
Follow him on Instagram @smalltowninertia and Twitter @JAMortram

Images Copyright © Jim Mortram. Used with permission of the photographer

Background to The Workers Gallery

Gayle Rogers, Resident Artist & Gallerist

In 2014 we took on the former library building in Ynyshir, saving it from being lost at public auction. After the village lost its day centre & library - we wanted to retain at least one place in the village where anyone could visit for free and socialise with others in a warm, friendly environment.  

 It has always been both a privilege and a struggle to trade as a commercial gallery in the valleys. We are called the 'Workers Gallery' because we wanted to make artists visible and accessible by representing them as people who simply work, like anyone in any other profession. We believe art can agitate and provoke for positive social & cultural change. The Workers Gallery exhibits original art by artists from Wales and Europe. We cannot meet the demand for exhibition space. Our main gallery is fully booked until 2021 and we manage 20-30 artist enquiries per week. 

 We have had a lot of support from a range of people who have helped us maintain our purposefully NOT publicly funded ethos. In response to local demand we offer a photocopying service and hold an art reference book library of donated books for all to use. We run knitting & sewing groups, run art activities with the local school and family art groups and integrate into local festivals and projects. There is always a hot drink & biscuits on offer.

 In the last few months we have seen the quality of life for some local people diminishing rapidly. We are now a donations collection point for the Rhondda Foodbank and actively fundraise for their work. We have seen a huge increase in the demand for the photocopying of evidence for benefit applications and appeals. We are seeing more photocopying requests for sick notes and time sheets for jobs where they are required for payment but they are not supplied by the employer. People have come into the gallery for food & some to talk about their own and others mental health issues. 

The Workers Gallery
99 Ynyshir Road, Ynyshir, Rhondda Cynon Taff, CF39 0EN
T: 01443 682024 E: @wood4tt on Twitter

Community Photography Day @ The Workers, Ynyshir

Community Photography Day @ The Workers, Ynyshir

To coincide with the J A Mortram ‘Small Town Inertia’ social documentary exhibition coming to Ynyshir in June 2019, The Workers Gallery are planning a special Community Photography Day for photographers of all aptitudes to document the village and community of Ynyshir on Saturday 22 June.

Ynyshir © David Mayne

Ynyshir © David Mayne

Ynyshir © David Mayne

Ynyshir © David Mayne

Ynyshir © David Mayne

Ynyshir © David Mayne

Washing day, Ynyshir. Image © Matthew Eynon

Washing day, Ynyshir. Image © Matthew Eynon

This is a great opportunity to spend a Saturday afternoon wandering with a camera on your own or in the company of other photographers - amateurs, enthusiasts and professionals - and document aspects of the village of Ynyshir: the place, landscape and people.

The Workers Gallery will act as a hub for the day where everyone can meet, chat and offer advice and support to others. All ages are welcome (under 18’s must be accompanied by a responsible adult).

If you’d like to participate, email The Workers Gallery to allow them to gauge interest - @wood4tt on Twitter

Images © David Mayne © Matthew Eynon. Used with permission.

Yallah @ The Andrew Buchan Bar

Yallah @ The Andrew Buchan Bar

Andrew Buchan Bar (map)

Cardiff-based photographer Reid Allen is hosting a book launch and exhibition event on 28 June at The Andrew Buchan Bar in Cardiff for his new photobook 'Yallah' which explores Palestine through skateboarding.

From ‘Yallah’. Image © Reid Allen

From ‘Yallah’. Image © Reid Allen

The West Bank is one of two Palestinian Territories, occupied since 1967 by Israeli forces.
More than half of the population of the occupied territories are 21 years old and younger, and the West Bank contains 774,167 registered Palestinian refugees (displaced from their homes what is now the state of Israel over from 1948 onwards), out of a population of 2,345,107. The Palestinian people living under occupation have every aspect of their life controlled: from movement to water supply to internet access to agriculture and industry. 

”For the month of September 2018 I volunteered with SkatePal, a non-profit organisation that works with communities throughout Palestine to enhance the lives of young people and promote the benefits of skateboarding”, says Reid. “I spent four weeks in the small village of Jayyous in the north of the West Bank, teaching skateboarding to the Jayyousi youth in the afternoons and drinking tea with the elders in the evenings. Weekends were spent travelling around the West Bank, skating what we could and learning more about the history and the present of the Palestinian struggle against occupation”.

The kids and young people were fascinated by photography and part of the SkateQilya programme involves teaching basic photography; I think skateboarding can be a fantastic door way into photography for a lot of the Palestinian youth.”

Reid’s output from the trip is 'Yallah' - a Kickstarter-funded 21x21cm 116 page softcover photobook (surpassing his £1000 target to reach £1395.00) and comprising largely portraiture-orientated photographs all shot on 35mm and medium format film, along with small sections of annotation. It also contains a foreword written by Chilean artist and photographer Sebastian Cobo, who shared Reid’s experiences in the West Bank.

“I chose to shoot analogue largely due to personal preference, it is my preferred medium. However I also think it suited the project; a candid and unembellished portrait of the communities of the West Bank.”

”With skateboarding as an integral but merely foundational lens, I think this photo book takes you deep into the community of Jayyous; the faces of children determined to both develop and simply have fun at a skatepark just 200 metres from the Israeli Separation wall, to birthdays and wedding parties, and endless stories told over pots of tea. It guides you through falafel-fuelled plaza sessions in Ramallah, Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, coffee in Nablus, the besieged Arab markets of Hebron and much more”.

”Through the photographs presented in this book, I hope to have achieved two things:
Let 'Yallah' be animated proof of the wonders of skateboarding. How it can empower the most marginalised of people, and offer possibilities of self-expression, opportunity and simplicity to the Palestinian youth. Secondly, I hope to have truly reflected the hardened faces but warm hearts of Palestine. The youth who face such a harsh future yet still have fun in the face of it, and the elders who offer such hospitality and smile through their strife. This book is for them.”

Yalla cover.jpg

The Yalla photography exhibition and book launch will start 8pm on Friday 28 June in The Andrew Buchan Bar on Albany Road, Cardiff.

First Found @ Found Gallery

First Found @ Found Gallery

Found Gallery (map)

Found Gallery – new gallery for Brecon
Photography and Art have an exciting new outlet in Brecon with the opening of a new art gallery this summer.

Found Gallery is situated in a prominent position in the town, opposite Yr Gaer, the new community hub, museum, gallery and library. Yr Gaer is due to open this summer.

Local residents, Punch and James Maughan, have been working on Found Gallery for the last year – aiming to build on their support for the arts having hosted Art @ No 10 for seven years and Punch more recently working as the Visual Arts Coordinator at Theatr Brycheiniog.

Their first exhibition, First Found, opens to the public on Friday July 5th and will run until Sunday August 4th. First Found will feature a group of artists and makers from across Wales as well as Valleys-based iconic documentary photographer Roger Tiley. Roger, ceramicist Kim Colebrook and water colourist Philip Ross are connected by the poignant theme of mining, a story that has always resonated with the Maughans. The exhibition will include Kim’s graduate piece ‘Survival’ – a memorial to Aberfan. Other makers in the exhibition have been chosen ….because they loved them!

Image © Roger Tiley

Image © Roger Tiley

And there’s more photography in the gallery’s next exhibition…

Found’s ongoing exhibitions will celebrate the diversity of talent across Wales and beyond, featuring established artists and makers, the hidden secrets that are discovered and graduates who are emerging as the next generation of the artist community! The summer exhibition ‘Jazz Finds’ will open on August 8th to coincide with the well-established Brecon Jazz Festival. This exhibition will feature some never seen jazz photographs by the very well known photographer John Bulmer as well as black and white photography by Max Farrar of the jazz scene in Leeds in the 1980s.

Gallery opening times: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm

Follow progress on Twitter @found_gallery

A day with Antony Penrose, curator of the Lee Miller Archives - RPS

A day with Antony Penrose, curator of the Lee Miller Archives - RPS

Talbot Green Community Centre (map)

THE SOUTH WALES REGION ORGANISERS OF THE ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY HAVE Antony Penrose, photographer and the son of surrealist artist Sir Roland Penrose and the surrealist and war documentary photographer Lee Miller as guest speaker for a day event in Pontyclun near Llantrisant on 21 July 2019. Anthony is the curator of the Lee Miller Photographic Archives and author of several books.

The Lee Miller archive consists of approx 60,000 of her negatives, mainly B&W, manuscripts, captions, notes, letters, her cameras, some personal effects (including her US Army uniform). The archive also contains approx 3,000 images by Sir Roland Penrose and photography by David E Schuerman, Man Ray, Antony Penrose and Andrew Lanyon.

Tickets are available now:
RPS Member - £12.00
Non RPS Member - £18.00
(Teas, coffees, cold drinks and biscuits are included in the price. Attendees are asked to bring their own packed lunches)

More information of the day’s programme and ticket booking on the RPS website event page >

The Lee Miller Archives are held at Farleys House and Gallery, Farley Farm, Muddles Green, Chiddingly East Sussex BN8 6HW 

Banner image © Lee Miller Archive