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Bara… And Roses Too!

Gustavius Payne

1st - 29th April.


My work has always been concerned with the human predicament and increasingly, over the last decade or so, with social structure, identity and the impact civilization has on the world.


The title to this exhibition has its initial origins in my home town, during the 1831 Merthyr Rising, where calls for bara a chaws (bread and cheese) and bara neu waed (bread or blood) were heard. Troops were sent for and subsequently opened fire killing twenty-four men women and children.  At this time there was no sick pay nor holiday entitlement, a working day was typically a fourteen-hour shift and the working week lasted six days, with only Sunday as a “day of rest”, but none of this was questioned. All that was being demanded was the very basics. ‘How could the world run any other way?’ they may have thought.


Within this context it could be asked if the general population today make similar assumptions about how things are and how they could be. Is there another way to do things? A better way for the future that goes beyond the bare necessities?


Originally dating back to the early twentieth century, to the American women's suffrage movement, bread and roses has become a common slogan calling for not only the bare minimum (bread) but more; dignity; access to education, literature, the arts, etc. (roses). After all, those post-war news reels predicted so much for the future, the reality of which, has actually been surpassed technologically.


Who are we? Where are we going? Is there a better way?

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