Letting in the Light

In April 2017 Engage Cymru delivered a 12-week intensive animation project in partnership with Cyfarthfa Castle Museum & Gallery, Pen y Dre High School and artist animator Gerald Conn to mark the Contemporary Art Society for Wales’ 80th anniversary.

Pupils brought a number of paintings acquired from CASW to life through animation and created innovative interpretation resources for the gallery which will sit alongside the original paintings. Works included that of artists Cedric Morris, John Uzzell Edwards, Steve Young, Brenda Chamberlain and Otto Grutfreund. 

This project was inspired by the ‘Animating Art History’ programme initiated by the Courtauld Institute. The screening premier took place at the Red House, Merthyr on 8 July.


Letting in the Light from Gritty Realism Productions on Vimeo.

During the project, the young people were able to gain valuable insights into the social and cultural history of Merthyr, have access to the Cyfarthfa Castle Museum archives, research the artists’ lives and create films based on their interpretations.

I loved the simple forms, stark and shaded tones of black, grey and white. I believe he chose this style to capture the mood of the Victorian period.

Pupil talking about John Uzzell Edwards’ work ‘The Welsh Wedding’

It makes you ask yourself so many questions. Anyone can look at the painting and create a different story. I created my own identity for each character.


Pupil talking about the work of Steve Young, ‘The Players’

I’ve witnessed a huge growth in confidence with the girls who took part—confidence in their own ability to talk about art and to produce their own works. The project also gave the pupils the freedom to test their own skills and ideas outside of formal education and gave to them an opportunity that they would otherwise not have access to and maybe the recognition of a talent that they did not know that they had.


Benjamin Price, Education Officer, Cyfarthfa Castle Museum & Gallery

What a wonderful job you and the team have done – far beyond my wildest dreams.


Chris Evans, Chair, Contemporary Art Society for Wales