/ˈhɪərəʊ/ - Hero

Red tulip

Hero was created as a commissioned artwork for Beneath The Surface, an event organised with my founders at Newport International Airspace. Our aim was to address:

How would you depict what lies beneath the surface of Newport?

Art, Life, Nature, Culture, Public and Private. Social, Political, Economic, Regeneration and Environmental issues.

Beneath The Surface seeks to initiate debate and dialogue;

How do we as Artists connect and correspond with the City in which we live?

Is there a place for Art in these times of Austerity?

How do we make our art so it is accessible to all?

How do we connect to the community in which we live?

NIA received funding from the Arts Council of Wales, Newport City Council and supported by The Project Space to produce a Pop Up Arts event at The Project Space Newport. Four performance artists and eight visual artists were commissioned to create artwork and a performance that existed in one integrated exhibition / event.

Hero

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Hero - A person who is admired for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

This installation explores 3 stories that are inspired by contrasting acts of heroism within Newport.

A adolescent hero from 1909 who saved a life in a courageous act of heroism in the docks disaster.
This thematic study reminded me of personal heroes from a recurring dream of mine as a child, where I was rescued from being buried alive.
These poignant stories lead me to explore todays 'walking' heroes within the city. Through becoming a blood donor I was able to engage with local residents to research: Why do people decided to protect the welfare of others?

This installation is an assemblage or mosaic with no constraints or limitations. The stories and materials that suspend and penetrate through the layers use shadows and symbolism to weave the stories together. Every element has meaning and a purpose. The materials are chosen because they are relevant to the stories I have researched or are the stories of others I had engaged.

In South Wales 400 units of blood are needed daily to supply the demand. The targets are not being met. It is a private decision to help others. 'The power is yours, the sharing of it is also yours'.

Thank you to the Wales Blood Service team and the donors on 12.3.15 based at the Newport Centre for supporting me in creating this art piece.

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Donating blood

Giving blood

Giving blood took 5.53 minutes. It seems to be a beat your 'personal best' moment for some repeat donors.

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The blood donors who kindly shared their stories and their portraits.

Further reading

The story began in 1909 with a young lad, Tom ‘Toya’ Lewis, his act of courage saved the life of a Newport dock worker, who became trapped amongst fallen timbers in the dock disaster. 39 workers lost their lives that day. Tom was announced a British hero by Prince Albert and was awarded a medal for his courage and bravery. This thematic was studied in a previous commission ‘With Passing Ships’.

Tom’s story had become a constant reminder to me of the ‘hero’s’ that saved me within my dreams as a young child. I used to dream I was buried alive, it was not sinister, just fact finding and filled with curiosity. How deeply buried would you have to be in order to be heard? I was rescued from being buried alive at 4 inches from ground level. Children need answers.

In March 2015 I researched the word ‘hero’ into a search engine and The Welsh Blood Services dominated the screen. With this information I decided to become a blood donor and a week later I was giving blood. I had become a ‘walking hero’. I new it was morally right to give blood but – What was the catalyst for others is to help and protect the welfare of others?

Blog – With Passing Ships

Film – With Passing Ships

The Newport Docks Disaster

welsh-blood.org.uk

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