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