Rhôd in Roath / Rhôd yn y Rhath 2017

Join Rhôd and this year’s Rhôd in Roath artists in front gardens along Cardiff’s Ninian Road this October as part of the madeinroath festival  2017.

Sat 21st Oct – Sun 22nd Oct 2017

All day with guided tour each day at 2pm (meet @ no 18).

Front Garden Installations and activities at numbers 18,19, 20, 28, 29, 30, 39, 47, 61, 76, 91, 95, Ninian Road, Cardiff, CF23 5EF.

Artists: Toby Downing, Ann Jordan, Rachel Marshall, Claire Louise Prosser, RhysReeceRees, Abigail Sidebotham, Susan Sluglett, Mita Solanky, Sam Vicary, Sean Vicary and Jacob Whittaker.

You can also join in the RSPB Big Garden Bioblitz at garden no 29 – a free and family friendly event.

Rhôd Is an artist-run project based in rural west Wales. The enduring theme of Rhôd’s activity is the ongoing creative dialogue between rural and urban environments and the ways in which artists think about and interpret those differences and similarities.

A huge thank you to Lucy and Matt, Dorcas Pennyfather , Chris Sutherland, Sue Willams, Bee and Roland, Kirsty Foster, Gill Bowker, Peter Knight, Rosie Cadwaladrevans and the Mellor family who have kindly provided front gardens for the show. The event would be  impossible without their enthusiastic co-operation.


Image: Sam Aldridge steps at Melin Glonc

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The artists and participants:

Ann Jordan, Claire Louise Prosser and Mita Solanky

Garden no 18


In this garden three artists come together to perform an act of unification, taking separate strands and braiding them into one plait. The three artists come from different generations reflecting the performance of ‘hair-care’ which is carried out across generations. Dressing our hair can seem like an act of luxury, but at its’ core it is a cultivation of self-care, and when extended beyond ourselves an act of nurture.

The most common braid is created with three sections of hair. But there are many different ways to plait hair and we invite visitors to the garden to share braiding techniques along the railings, and record your stories of hair experiences on the ribbons.

In native American Indian cultures braids symbolize Oneness and Unity. The flowing strands of hair, individually weak but when joined together in a braid, physically demonstrate the Strength of Oneness;

Ann, Claire and Mita, were invited to take part in Rhod Art Camp 2017. They found many commonalities in their art practices – specifically in their love of the natural environment and a sense of humanity, history and cultural practices. Physical processes are integral to their work, whether it is walking, running or hands-on making. At Rhod they undertook a spontaneous performance centered on ‘Hair’ which has been further developed for Made in Roath 2017.





Seán Vicary and Toby Downing

Garden number no 19

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Toby Downing is an automaton maker and kinetic artist, his works often includes found objects and have mechanical elements. The viewer is encouraged to directly interact by pulling a lever or winding a handle. He is also involved in the theatre as a puppet maker, puppeteer set designer and prop builder, working on collaborative projects in the UK and Europe.

Seán Vicary originally studied painting, though he became increasingly seduced by the possibilities of working with animation.

After moving to West Wales he forged a new practice building upon his painting/printmaking skills and embracing emerging digital technologies; his subsequent moving image pieces have been broadcast in the UK and exhibited worldwide.

Seán is the recipient of 2017 Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales and is currently using animation to explore contemporary manifestations of Genii Loci.

Lilith in the Garden

Mutoscope and Animation 2014/17

In Jewish folklore ‘Lilith’ is the name of Adam’s first wife, created by God from the same animated earth as Adam. When Adam approached her she refused to lie beneath him, arguing that she shouldn’t be subservient as they had both been created equal; as a consequence of this argument Lilith flew from the Garden of Eden to seek the company of fallen angels and demons.

With her roots in ancient Mesopotamian religion, Lilith is a figure that has featured repeatedly in artistic interpretation. A striking example is the ‘Burney Relief’, a 3800-year-old Babylonian terracotta plaque featuring a naked bird-footed women flanked by two Owls. When the piece came to light in the 1930’s the figure was identified as a representation of Lilith, though this continues to be debated by scholars.

A few years ago some friends moved into a new house in West Wales.

The property had been empty for some time and was in a state of overgrown disrepair, it’s prior life as a garden centre just about discernable beneath the run-wild roses and brambles.

The previous owner had been a retired army Major who had bought the garden centre as a going concern, but after the business ran into trouble he “decided to venture into the naturist scene”. The ‘Garden of Eden’ was aimed at “liberated adults” attracting visitors from all over Britain.

Slowly whispers of garden centre scandal grew in the countryside, until in 1998 an undercover film crew led by BBC journalist Betsan Powys gained entry by posing as ‘swingers’.

The subsequent film and media exposure resulted in the Major’s prosecution for ‘living off immoral earnings and operating a brothel’, witnesses describing naked “frolicking” in the greenhouse swimming pool.

The Major pleaded guilty, his counsel explaining: “People wanted more excitement and he had turned a blind eye to what was going on… he has lost his business… his good character… and intends to return to Kent, where he has friends.”

Remnants of this fall from grace and expulsion from Eden were still evident in 2014 when we were invited to create a piece of work on the site; tumbledown outbuildings, a weathered hand-painted sign, a sprawling fig tree, a draw full of exotic matchboxes and shelves crammed with rusting tobacco tins.

Against this backdrop it seemed appropriate to use pieces of this detritus and conjure Lilith to dance among the garden flowers.

Working collaboratively we decided to revisit an earlier commission we had made for Rhôd using animation and a water-powered mutoscope:

Toby redesigned the mutoscope bringing to the fore a little more of its peep-show connotations and I rifled through the tobacco tins; gathering wire mesh, matchbooks and other discarded scraps to create the animation.

The animated Lilith was based on the Burney Relief figure and some 1904 mutoscope reels featuring Princess Rajah, a famous Vaudeville ‘cooch’ dancer.

The mutoscope was originally sited in the greenhouse among the fig trees,

Rhôd in Roath marks its first outing beyond what was once the Garden of Eden.



Garden no 20


“My Little Pigeon”

Why do we regard certain creatures with fondness, anthropomorphised as cute and loveable characters, when others are considered no more than vermin, to be discouraged?

In the interest of diversity we encourage you to feel the love, whatever the hue of their feathers.

RhysReeceRees will not be sitting on the fence on this one.

RhysReeceRees are a collaboration between Debbie Rees and Julian McKenny who set up Blaenffos Permaculture Market Garden in 2009. They created the umbrella project Vegetable Agenda (Where Art & Vegetables Meet) to encourage engagement with the working landscape, the environment and sustainable living.



Jacob Whittaker

Garden no 28


Jacob Whittaker lives and works in Cardigan, Ceredigion. Co-founder of sonic arts group GWRANDO and Capel Y Graig art space, his work is primarily concerned with documentary, recording and re-presentation, creating sound and video installations as well as documentary film for artists and local community organisations.

Since 2003 Jacob has been working with a growing collection of vinyl records, old record players and found audio equipment exploring, subverting and celebrating aspects of popular culture through installation, sound and video.

Jacob’s work often facilitates interactivity and participation both locally and globally through webcasting and social media, offering up experiences of the creative act as a collective event.

A Peasant in Four Dimensions – 28 Ninian Red 

Sound objects on a red theme for the centenary of the October revolution in Russia.

The Red Army Choir; Red Light; Contact in Red Square; I see Red; The Red Flag; Red Guitar; Rise Red Sun; Simply Red; Red Red Wine; Red Maple Leaves;

The work for Rhod in Roath 2017 will explore Jacob’s collection of over 4000 vinyl records through a red filter, gathering and ignoring eclectic musical references to popular culture and radiating red noise.

In addition to the work at 28 Ninian Red there will be a new experimental participative work in Punk Bikes on Bedford st on Sunday October 22nd, 3pm -8pm




RSPB – Big Garden Bioblitz

Garden no 29


Sat 21 Oct, 10am – 4.30pm
Join the RSPB for a family friendly wildlife safari in and out the front gardens of Ninian Road. From slimy slugs to cheeky chaffinches help us find and identify as muchwildlife as possible and work out which front garden is the best at giving nature a home.

Find out more about RSPB Family events:



Ann Jordan

Garden no 30 

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Swansea based Ann Jordan is a Fine Artist who creates sculptures, mainly in textiles that relate to the topology of costal and rural landscapes. These pieces are made from Welsh sheep fleeces which in themselves evoke a sense of local identity and place.

Age old techniques and processes are integral to the physical body of the work that addresses issues within a contemporary context.

Bed Rock  (2017) emulates the geological strata of an eroding cliff-face caused by the forces of nature and the rise in sea levels due to global warming, exacerbated by human activities. Here the softness of the wool, woven and felted, alludes to the fragile nature of our planet.

Seacity 1,2,&3 (2016) document walks taken long the beach and Swansea city streets using an App to record the journey that allows time to process creative ideas.

Ann has exhibited throughout Wales and beyond, including Venice, France and Colorado and her work is held in private collections. She is a founder director of Elysium gallery and Artawe and a member of the artist collaborative groups Nervous Synergy and Joakes. Ann has been awarded grants from the ACW, Swansea Dylan Thomas Centenary Fund and the Brecon Beacon National Park Authority Regeneration Fund for her seminal work cwtch located on the Black Mountain.


Abigail Sidebotham and Rachel Marshall

Garden no 39

Rhod-made_in_RoathAbigail Sidebotham is an artist and filmmaker based in Pembrokeshire, Wales. She graduated from Brighton University in 2008 with a BA(hons) in Photography and the RCA in 2013 with an MA in Fine Art. Since graduating she has exhibited internationally.

Rachel Marshall is a writer with a background in fine art and philosophy. She attended Byam Shaw School of Art, she graduated from SOAS with a BA in the Study of Religions and from Birkbeck with an MA in Cultural and Critical Studies. Her work has been featured in anthologies, journals and art exhibitions.  

Landscapes embedded with the scars of time and everyday stories of historical events are reinterpreted to formulate the narratives of Abigail Sidebotham’s films. 

 Rachel Marshall aims to look at experiences and tell the often absurd story of lived reality.  

 Rhôd in Roath 2017:

Abigail Sidebotham is collaborating with writer Rachel Marshall to create an oral and visual retelling of the ‘Sea Empress’ oil spill that occurred off the coast of Pembrokeshire in 1996, entwining the oils mythical and deep origins with the people of Pembrokeshire’s memories of everyday existence in this place and of the land. 



Susan Sluglett and Sam Vicary

Garden no 76

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Susan Sluglett and Sam Vicary are painters who count flora and fauna among their interests. Signs for our Time’ is a collaboration that involves painted images using environmental household paint attached to Caution A-Frame Safety Signs made from recycled wood. Set down at random intervals on the front lawn, these ‘highlighters’ promote the planting of wild flowers to encourage birds and insects.

With threats to the diversity of bee populations including climate change, loss of habitat and the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, the artists highlight the urgency to be responsible gardeners. ‘Signs for our Times’ is a cautionary tale emphasising the importance of nurturing the often undervalued and marginalised pollinator species that play a vital part in our ecosystem.

Susan Sluglett graduated from Wimbledon Art College in 2008 and was one of three artists awarded the Jerwood Painting Fellowships in 2013. She lives and works in London.

“Painting is a physical process of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction which leads to; picturing alternatives, making adjustments, excavating an image, balancing gesture with narrative, pentimenti and destroying something only to start again.”



Sam Vicary is an artist from West Wales. These simple studies made from observation, teeter on the edge of abstraction and set out to encourage the viewer to explore their own natural spaces.

“Painting is about finding the correct balance, enjoying the subtlety of the relationship between form and surface. Revealing just enough of the intended.”




Mita Solanky

Garden no 47 


Mita Solanky is a contemporary artist based in the urban midlands, making work through the experiences of the natural environment. Mita has a studio and residency based practice using performance, installation and visual work.

​​”I explore the connections humans have with nature, often using my body ​ and natural materials​ to make work. I use walking as a method of research, to experience the natural environment and transform that experience into visual work. My work is critical of the ever increasing disconnect that human experience has with the natural environment.”

Rhôd in Roath 2017:

“​​In a world where we are increasingly disconnected from the things we consume, with mass production and automation replacing the intimacy of hand-made items​  ​I chose to wrap these discarded industrial wheels in wool. The work was made at Rhod – a grade II listed corn mill, in the village of Drefelin in Carmarthenshire, an area once filled with woollen mills – a development of the older cottage industries that were nurtured by local residents and resources. The mills have all but gone, as we now satisfy our need for textiles via cheap imports of mass produced materials. The wool that was once a valuable resource, is now thrown away by farmers due to lack of demand. The waterways that once fed the woollen mills are now polluted with chemicals from industrialised farming methods. The wheel is the symbol of progress, but it is also an ancient symbol for the continual cycles of nature and the universe. By covering these industrial wheels in wool, alters their meaning and opens us to questioning what progress means.​”