LLANELLI artist and founder of Y Tŷ Celf – The Art House, Deb Chapman, has been invited to exhibit six of her paintings at the Senedd in Cardiff.

The Senedd, which houses the National Assembly, is the centre of democracy and devolution in Wales. It is a building symbolic of the nation Wales has become, where much is done to celebrate Welsh arts and culture.

Recognising that Wales is a creative nation, the Senedd supports artists from across Wales by inviting them to exhibit their work.

The exhibition, entitled ‘Seeing Beyond the Here and Now’ runs from 23rd July until 14th September. Though not open to public viewing, the paintings will be displayed in an office complex for Senedd staff and the many agencies based there to enjoy.

Lee Waters AM  for Llanelli had invited local artists to to display their art in the Senedd and Deb originally submitted two paintings to be exhibited alongside those of two other artists. She was subsequently invited to submit six paintings and to host a solo exhibition.

Speaking to Llanelli Online about her selection Deb said: “This is my first ever exhibition so it’s actually a huge moment for me.

“As a nation we are very creative, and I think that’s reflected in the value that the Senedd puts on art.”

Having painted a lot as a teenager and wanting to pursue it as a career, Deb was disheartened by some negative experiences at secondary school, which damaged her confidence to the extent that she took a different career path altogether.

Three years ago however, prompted by the feeling of stepping into a new phase of adventure, Deb decided to give time and space to her painting.

Deb  explained: “If I didn’t give the painting time now, because of the stage of life that I was at, then when was I going to do it?

Deb embarked on the artistic journey and enrolled on a mixed media course with artist and tutor Susan Crossman-Jones. She said: “It turned out to be such a positive experience, which undid what happened to me in secondary school, and gave me the confidence to keep pushing in.

“It’s a validation, it’s an affirmation when people think your work is worthy of exhibiting,”

Inspired by the early Celtic Christians in Wales and the way in which they fused their creativity with their new-found faith, there is a definite spiritual element to Deb’s artwork.

Through her paintings, the artist aims to encourage people to see beyond what is physically in front of them.

Enlarging on the concept behind her work Deb said:“My artwork is a personal exploration of and response to the world around me, with a focus on bringing the ‘unseen’ spiritual realm into the physical realm. It is very much a journey, what the old Celtic monks called peregrinatio (wandering for the love of God), but an internal journey as well as an external one.

“Some of that is the spiritual realm and some of that is recognising that there is more to be seen than what we see.

Inspiration for the series of paintings displayed at the Senedd came from biblical verses and Celtic prayers, and the images that were evoked on the words of these sacred texts.

The artist explained: “For me there’s always the potential that when they look at my work, people can encounter what I’m trying to represent. I’m hoping that in a way they can be modern-day icons, in terms of how they were used in mediaeval times, where people would gaze at an icon and they would have a mystical encounter.

“It’s also about joy, that they would feel some sense of lifting in their spirit.”

Y Tŷ Celf – The Art House is running exhibitions at Llanelly House throughout the summer. Currently displaying their work are artists Patricia McParlin and Tim Swain, with photographer Graham Harries exhibiting in August.

Admission to all Tŷ Celf exhibitions at Llanelly House is free of charge.

Solo exhibition: Deb Chapman

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