There are many reasons I love my neighbourhood. There’s always something to do here, exciting projects to get involved in and new friends to meet. It’s hard to define exactly where ‘Roath’ is. Officially, Roath doesn’t exist. Cardiff Council will tell you that the area known as Roath is an amalgamation of Plasnewydd, Pen-y-lan and Cathays. Locally, however, I think it will always be known as Roath.
Five years ago, a small group of local artists set up some exhibitions that enouraged new artists to show their work alongside established ones. Flyers were dropped through the doors of neighbourhood houses, inviting people to open up their homes as mini galleries.
Today, the Made in Roath arts festival takes over the entire neighbourhood for a whole week and includes film, music, performance, demonstrations and some things that just can’t be categorised. There’s an amazing buzz around Roath when the festival is on, and the great atmosphere makes it impossible not to leave the house and join the hundreds of people wandering around with festival programmes in their hands.
And the best thing about Made in Roath? It’s free! Oh, and wherever you go, there’s always lots and lots of cake.
It’s impossible to visit all of the events during the festival. There are over sixty inlcuded in the art maps given out to visitors to help them find their way around, and that’s not including the people who just decide to randomly set up on their own. I tried my best to get around as much as I could, though, even when the weather turned against us and it poured down with rain. I’d like to share with you what I experienced during the festival, but even with the limited time I had free I managed to cram in a lot, so I’ve decided to split it up into different posts over the week.
I thought I’d start at the beginning, the reason the festival exists – art.
A record number of people decided to hold open houses this year, and the work ranged from traditional paintings and sculpture to canvases made from melted wax crayons, weaving and textiles, poetry displayed in windows and robots. There was more than enough to fill a day just on my street.
Jacob Whittaker covered the path to his front door with records to show how the recording format has virtually disappeared in recent years. He also placed pieces of broken record around Roath with QR codes that led to various videos including the first published birdsong recording on a 1920s grampohone.
‘Facing the Park’ by Betina Skovbro showed a series of individual portraits, placed in the front windows of a row of houses, revealing the people who live there.
There was also a bigger diversity of locations this year, including pubs, shops, restaurants and even the local laundarette.
Unfortunately, some of the venues were not up to defending themselves against the British weather. New artists having a go at painting as part of ‘Paint the Park’ found their canvases got more than a bit wet.
My friend Paddy, a professional photographer, included some of his work. My favourite is the first photo 🙂
All the photos from the 2013 Cardiff Photomarathon were displayed outside one of the community centres. And, as I entered the Photomarathon, I can technically say that I was a contributing artist to Made in Roath. OK, it’s a tenuous link I know, but let me have my moment.
And, just in case you lost your map or couldn’t decide what you wanted to see, Gerogina Fineman helpfully doodled recommendations of the best things to do every day on the window of my favourite restaurant, Milgi.