Fair Trade Fortnight Cymru at the Morgan Arcade

In what is fast becoming my favourite Arcade shop (because every week of the project something different has been housed there!), 22 Morgan Arcade, is currently playing host to another temporary gathering – this time for Fairtrade Fortnight Cymru.

I popped in very briefly at lunchtime to take a few photos and take a look around at what they’d done with the space since the Nothing to Declare show ended last week.

Inside I got chatting to Steve, who was very excited about me taking photos (he used to chair the Cardiff University Photography Society – so it’s only natural) and told me about some of the events that are coming up over the next couple of weeks.

Martha Musonza Holman

They were still putting the finishing touches to the displays while I was there, but I think it should be all finished by now, so I’d highly recommend you pop in if you can over the next couple of weeks. There will be things going on every day, free samples and stuff available to buy starting at very low prices. Adorning the walls you’ll find several paintings with fair trade slogans (in Welsh and English), information about the campaign and other displays for you to enjoy. There’s also a kids painting table area (although I must confess secretly I’d love to sit at one of those myself) for everyone to join in with.

Also in the shop was Martha who was selling fairtrade goods from Zimbabwe. She also gives talks to local schools about fair trade, so is a good one to speak to if you want to know more about the topic.

Wales is the world’s first fair trade nation, an honour bestowed on the people of Wales by an independent panel so we should be very proud to have such a pop-up appear right in the midst of town – if you want to find out more you can visit the Fair Trade Wales website, and to find out more about what’s happening over the next couple of weeks, visit the Fair Trade Fornight Cymru website.

I’ll be popping along as often as I can to see some more Fairtrade goings-on action, including next Tuesday (pancake day) when The Ethical Chef will be popping along to make pancakes. Stay tuned!

Enjoy the pictures – as always, feedback very well received! And again, as usual, you will find more pictures in the Fair Trade Fortnight Flickr set.

Nothing to Declare: MA Art Practice, University of Glamorgan show, 22-24 Morgan Arcade

Christine Marfleet, with her piece exploring the fragmented manufacture of a coat in a closed-down factory in the Valleys

A couple of weeks ago I had the fortune of photographing UWIC students who were putting on a degree show in an empty shop in the Morgan Arcade.

As part of a guided tour I was giving to a visiting friend (people be warned, if you visit me I will no doubt enforce a walking tour of the arcades on you) I noticed that a new show had started this week!

I can’t emphasise enough how important I think it is for the empty shops to be used for something, and art exhibitions are a particularly brilliant way to make use of them.

We wandered into the shop and I got chatting to one of the artists exhibiting, Christine Marfleet, who very kindly took some time out to explain more about her piece and the others on show and encouraged me to take photos. A photoshoot like this is always a lot of fun as just 5 minutes before I didn’t know I’d be doing one!

Her piece, one of the most striking in the show, thanks to its size, tells the story of coat manufacture in a recently closed factory in Pontypridd. Each of the pieces represents the different person that was required to make it, with nobody ever having the knowledge to make an entire coat.

This exhibition is over 3 floors, with both the basement and the upper level of the shop available for exploration. The show feels particularly suited to an empty shop as its aim is to critique aspects of consumer culture.

Chris was extremely excited about the space and is hoping to use the space again in the future for more shows, and further, would love to be the curator of it should it be a permanent exhibition space – something that would surely be a very welcome addition to the arcades, adding “exhibition venue” to fantastic architectural interest, independent niche shops, boutiques and fantastic coffee house would be, to my mind, another great tick in the box.

You can read more about the show on the University of Glamorgan website. Nothing to Declare runs until Saturday 26th February 2011, and is open between 10 o’clock and 5 o’clock. A few more photos of the exhibition can be found in the Nothing to Declare set on Flickr.

More pictures can be seen from the exhibition in the Nothing to Declare Flickr set, as usual, any feedback very gratefully received in the comments box.

Graham Wilkins - Side Effect (if you visit the show, look out for a bag with your first name on it, if you find one, take it!) I'll be popping back later in the week to see how many are left!

Graham Wilkins - Side Effect (click to see bigger)

Graham Wilkins - Side Effect (click to see bigger) Unfortunately my bag had nothing in it... maybe somebody had already taken the drug... maybe there never was one...

Wendy Batey - Triptych

Laura Sealey - 99 Strangers and I - Laura asked 99 strangers to send her their cigarette butts and asking for each to have a story behind it. It's amazing how the piece can look so beautiful, considering its content - certainly a head-scratcher.

Another of Laura Sealey's pieces hanging in the window (click to view larger)

Matthew Britton, Tiff Oben, Sebastian du Mont - In the Loop (this piece takes up one of the rooms in the basement - you might need to ask to be taken down to see it)

Matthew Britton, Tiff Oben, Sebastian du Mont - In the Loop

Matthew Britton, Tiff Oben, Sebastian du Mont - In the Loop