ARTIST / Felix Akulw
After completing a Foundation Course at Cardiff College of Art in 1972, Felix proceeded to Lanchester Poytechnic to study Fine Art gaining a First Class Honours Degree with Commendation. From here Felix progressed to the Royal College of Art in London and was Awarded his Masters Degree in 1978. During this period he presented a solo show of paintings and drawings at the Lanchester Polytechnic Gallery whilst also participating in group shows at the Conway Hall Gallery and the Courtauld Institute Gallery in London. At this time he was also awarded the Herbert Read Memorial Prize from the Royal College of Art.
From 1978 to 1986 Felix lived and worked as a professional artist in London with studios at Butlers Wharf, Beck Road and the Acme Robinson Road Studios whilst also spending periods of time in Cornwall, Pembrokshire and the Algarve painting and drawing from the land and seascapes. Many of these works were exhibited in Open Studio shows at Robinson Road, mixed exhibitions at The Mask Gallery, Bermondsey as well as significant exhibitions at the Showroom Gallery in Bethnal Green and the Advanced Graphics Gallery in Tooley Street, London.
On returning to Wales in 1986, he continued to paint whilst subsequently training as a teacher of Art, completing a PGSE in 1989 from Cardiff Institute of Education. There followed a long and productive career in a variety of schools, principally Pontardulais Comprehensive School where Andrew worked as Head of Art for over twenty years until his retirement.
During this period, he continued to produce a range of work in a variety of media and exhibited at the 1991 Wales Open Art Exhibition at Aberystwyth University whilst also exhibiting at the Bro Delyn National Eisteddfod in the same year. Significant mixed-media work under the rubric of “Did you know Lawrence of Arabia was a Welshman” was developed in response to the military conflicts in the Gulf and later in Iraq.
It was at this time that he developed an interest in the possibilities offered by the rapidly developing computer digital technologies and he began researching how electronic printing systems developed languages for describing variations in tonal values. This research culminated in an extensive series of digitally inspired portraits in a variety of media featuring a ‘hero’ of Felix's, the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein first exhibited at the Wales Open Exhibition of 1992. Further digitally inspired portraiture work was exhibited at the Fourth Oriel Mostyn Open as well as at the National Eisteddfod at Builth Wells in 1993. A substantial exhibition of this work was also exhibited at the Taliesin Arts Centre to coincide with the Swansea Arts Festival screening of Derek Jarmans biopic of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Andrew was also invited to lecture on the emerging Digital Revolution in the visual arts at the 1994 National Eisteddfod in Neath where he also exhibited a range of work including responses to the Falklands conflict and featuring another ‘hero’, Simon Weston.
Since his retirement five years ago, Felix has continued to work in a variety of media and genres. Digitally inspired land and seascape work continued to be a feature of his oeuvre until more recently when creative forages into colour and abstraction has seen the emergence of a substantial series of work in acrylic on canvas. I hope to exhibit some of these in due course at the Queen Street Gallery to whom I am grateful for the opportunity to partake in the current exhibition.