Exhibition & Book launch party: Land of Change – Stories of Struggle & Solidarity from Wales

Event Details

In an era defined by war, protest and social change, is it time to elevate our hidden histories, imagine inspiring alternatives and show solidarity with the cultural struggle for democracy, freedom and equality?

Elysium Gallery and Culture Matters invites you to a night of live music, spoken word and more for the launch of widely reviewed anthology Land of Change: Stories of Struggle & Solidarity from Wales, to accompany the Land of Change exhibition on show in the elysium gallery bar.

As a record of resistance, Land of Change unearths and celebrates the rich and diverse lived experiences of working-class, under-represented and marginalised people from Wales.
The line-up includes anthology contributors: Queen Niche, Sierra Moulinie, Rhoda Thomas, Tony Webb, Sierra Moulinié, Tim Evans, Krystal Lowe, Des Mannay, Summar Jade, Rebecca Lowe, Gareth Twammers, Tony Webb, Gwenno Dafydd, The Catalan aka Xavier Panadès i Blas, Raven H. Rose and Samantha Mansi.

The launch will also host two of Wales’ most notorious women in DnB, hip-hop and grime, Eris Kaoss and Missy G, as well as eclectic musician Peter Copper and spoken word artist, Trudi Peterson.

There will be also be video performances as well as an interactive audience participation element, curated by poet and anthology contributor, Rhys Trimble.

There is an admission Fee of £6 for this special event – All proceeds go to the artists and copies of the anthology will be available to purchase.

Culture Matters is a trade union funded co-operative, rooted in the labour movement, and apart from managing the website they publish books and run Arts Awards in partnership with trade unions. Combining fact, fiction, visual art and photography in a wonderful tapestry of text and imagery, Land of Change links activism, authorship and artistic expression.

Email: yourstoriesofwales@gmail.com
@gemhow @culturesmatter @elysiumswansea

“A vibrant anthology that does not merely reflect the internal differences within working-class solidarities in Wales, but actually substantiates and develops that diversity in its chorus of visual and textual voices. Ymlaen!” Prof Daniel G. Williams

“It is my hope that the anthology reaches a national and international readership to broaden an understanding of this often-stigmatised community.” Dr Rhea Seren Phillips, Nation Cymru

“There is resistance and creativity in all of these works, and the book stands as proof positive of the difference, defiance and infectious vibrancy of the working-class voices of Wales.” Mab Jones, Buzz Mag

“Land of Change is a fine book, notable for its message of unity through diversity. The contributors all demand urgent action on the unacceptable levels of social inequality and class division.” Jim Aitken, The Morning Star

About the artists:
Eris Kaoss (formerly Little Eris) is signed to Observance Records. With 20 years experience, she is a DJ on Only Old Skool Radio.
Gemma aka Missy G is the first female DnB emcee in Wales, and founding member of The Ladies of Rage. Calling for greater female representation, she is founder of Missy New Era: a charitable collective which encourages and mentors new artists.
Neelufur Adam known as Nelly Adam aka Queen Niche was born in 1985 in London and raised in Cardiff. She’s the eldest of 8 siblings and is of Kenyan and Indian heritage. She has a BSc in Biomedical Science and is CIPD qualified. She works in Human Resources in the NHS and has been a BLM activist since June 2020. Nelly is a Human Rights activist and has spoken to the Welsh Government in Senydd to address issues about statues in Wales, and to the United Nations to address current issues of racism in Wales. Nelly also leads and is the Race Equality Champion for Zero Racism Wales. She also sits contributes to the Royal College of Drama & Arts, the National Museum of Wales, the Socio- Economic Sub-Group for Welsh Government (REAP), the Welsh Army and NPTC College Group consultation groups to advise on diversity, inclusion and equality action some of which include.
H Raven Rose views art as alchemy capable of purging subliminal shadow before lifting the individual to sublime heights of consciousness. Her narrative approach is that of a shamanic storyteller and her visionary fiction includes symbols and elements meant to help readers and viewers transcend the mundane, positively transform their fractured psyche, or expand their consciousness. A writer-director, her poem painted in film, Sacred Birthday, Sacred Wales—Pen-Blwydd yn Gysegredig, Cymru Sanctaidd, won the 2021 Wales International Film Festival Illustrated Poem Jury’s Award Special Prize. In 2018, her Super 8 short film Sleep Disturbance was shot in Bristol and screened at The Cube Microplex, UK. Her play Dark Eros, adapted into a suspense novelette of the same title, was staged as readings in Los Angeles, one of which starred Jessica Biel in the lead role as Leila. An excerpt of the play version of Sleep Disturbance was staged as readings at the Taliesin Create Space. Recent publications include creative nonfiction, Waking up Wild and Snow, published in Tofu Ink Arts Press, and an ecopoem, ‘23 Species from 19 States lost to extinction,’ published in the Winter 2022 edition of In Parentheses.
Krystal S. Lowe is a Bermuda-born, Wales-based dancer, choreographer, writer, and director, creating dance theatre works for stage, public space, and film that explore themes of intersectional identity, mental health and wellbeing, empowering audiences toward introspection and social change. She’s an artist dedicated to creating, performing, and producing projects to empower communities, promote the Welsh language, and connect her work in Wales with her home country, Bermuda. Recent credits include: Good Things to Come commissioned by National Dance Company Wales and Literature Wales for the Welsh Government’s Wales in Germany 2021; Somehow, commissioned by Music Theatre Wales; Complexity of Skin commissioned by the Space for BBC’s Culture in Quarantine; Intersectional Identities project, funded by Arts Council Wales, Welsh Government, and the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda; The History of Us | Ein Hanes Ni, funded by Wales Arts International and Bermuda Civic Ballet; Presenting Individual Identities, Clwstwr funded R&D project; and Beacons Development Award 2021 for Seven, funded by BFI Network Wales, Ffilm Cymru, and the National Lottery.
Rebecca Lowe is a journalist, poet, events organiser, and Quaker peace activist, based in Swansea, South Wales. Her climate emergency poem ‘Tick, Tick’ was a Bread and Roses Spoken Word 2020 Award winner. Her poetry has been featured on BBC Bristol, BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Workshop and BBC Radio 3 and featured in many anthologies including Red Poets, Blackheath Countercultural Review, and Culture Matters’ Ymlaen/Onward! anthology of radical Welsh poetry. Rebecca’s most recent publications include Blood and Water published by The Seventh Quarry (2020) and Our Father Eclipse, published by Culture Matters (2021).
Tim Evans was born in Llanelli and now lives in Swansea. He worked as a teacher and lecturer and was active in the National Union of Teachers (now the NEU) and the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (now the UCU). In 2011 he set up the Llanelli 1911 Rail Strike Commemoration Society, which annually marks the killing of protesters by Churchill’s troops and the uprising that followed. He has written extensively on Welsh history, and co-runs Live Poets Society, a political poetry group based in Swansea. He’s a revolutionary socialist and member of Swansea Socialist Workers Party. Tim is also a lifelong anti-racist, and activist in the Anti-Nazi League, Rock Against Racism, Stand Up to Racism and Love Music, Hate Racism. His work has appeared in Planet, New Welsh Review, Red Poets, Poets on the Hill and the International Socialism Journal (ISJ). His article on Welsh syndicalism and the Cambrian Combine Strike was published in the ISJ in 2021. His latest poetry collection Bones of the Apocalypse was published by Frequency House in 2021.
Gareth Twamley is a Cardiff based poet with a background in performing arts. Before his progression into writing he appeared in numerous TV shows and had roles in two feature films. Since 2017 he has been an integral part of the local grassroots poetry scene. As well as performing his work at local venues, Gareth has performed at several UK festivals and has appeared at performance poetry competitions including The Frequency House Swansea Poetry Slam. He is known for his eclectic writing style and strong delivery, ranging from punk and political to uplifting and soulful. Gareth has also ghost-written lyrics for numerous local singers and hip-hop artists and continues to write bespoke poetry for weddings, funerals and other events. His favourite poets and influences locally are Ifor Thomas, Gemma June Howell, Will Ford, Zaru Johnson and Johnny Giles. From 2018 to 2020 Gareth devised and presented his own open mic event Lyrical Miracles and also curated and presented the very popular Word Asylum events which gained plaudits from local poets and audiences alike. Gareth is currently focussing on developing his writing style on the page and continues to produce work with publication now his main goal.
Xavier Panadès i Blas was brought up in a peasant background and was educated to the revolutionary values of solidarity, justice, and freedom. This led Xavier to become involved in social-political and environmental movements since the mid 1980s. In fact, Xavier has been instrumental in the internationalisation of the culture of the Catalan Lands. he has been stunning audiences for the last 20 years with his explosive performances in Catalan around the globe, which is not surprising as Xavier’s writings totally absorb the readers. His poems and stories are regularly published in international journals and in particular his poems in The Ear of Eternity (Francis Boutle: 2019) is an experience of self-discovery where the artist becomes insignificant, a mere channeller. Xavier is currently working on translating and setting to music poems by Ramon Folch i Camarasa, recording the poems for his upcoming album, and recording poets in Catalan, Castilian, and English for the non-profit organisation Listen to Poetry.
Rhys Trimble is a neurodiverse, bilingual poet, teacher, translator, performer, critic, musician, sound artist, visual artist, shaman, pastynwr, performance artist, publisher, editor and activist who provided a speech at the Banthebill protest in Bangor. Born in Zambia, raised in South Wales and resident in North Wales, he is the author of 20 or so books.
Des Mannay is a member of a BAME family that originated in Cardiff ’s docks. A long-time community activist, and former shop steward in NALGO and the GMB, he has had articles published in Socialist Worker, Socialist Review, and was on the Editorial Board of the short-lived Welsh Socialist Voice, for which he also wrote. He is also a poet, and his first poetry collection, Sod ’em—and tomorrow is published by Waterloo Press. He is co-editor of The Angry Manifesto poetry journal and winner of the rethinkyourmind poetry competition (2015). He came second in the LIT-UP poetry competition (2019), and was highly commended for the Disability Arts Cymru Poetry Competition (2015). Des achieved the ‘Gold Award’ for the Creative Futures Literary Awards (2015) and was shortlisted in 7 competitions. He was a judge for the Valiant Scribe Vultures and Doves Poetry Competition (USA). Des has performed at numerous venues/ festivals and has published in various poetry journals. His work appears in 36 poetry anthologies.
Rhoda Thomas is a radical poet, based in Swansea, where she lives with her partner and two cats. Originally from London, she has been settled in Wales for 40 years, contributing to the training of social workers, counsellors and doctors as a psychologist and sociologist. She has held office in student and trade unions and with Tim Evans, she convenes the annual Llanelli 1911 Railway Strike Commemoration Festival, which is fast becoming a regular fixture in the trade union calendar. She is a founder member of Live Poets Society, which brings together poets from across south Wales for workshops and open-mic events. A member of the Socialist Workers Party, she gives talks and writes on subjects such as the lives of female revolutionaries and the damage to our health from the food industry. She reads regularly at poetry groups and events. She is the author of ‘Survive and grow in difficult times,’ and her poetry can be found in recent anthologies, in Red Poets, and in her poetry collections. In this prose-piece she writes about the challenges she has faced in life as a working-class woman, and the value of solidarity.
Sierra Moulinié is a 35-year-old queer and nonbinary poet born and raised on a council estate in South Wales. They write primarily about their battles with mental health, as well as about LGBT issues and problems in modern society, and often performs at local open mic events.
Summar Jade is a 28-year-old performance artist. She was brought up in council housing and then from the age of sixteen she brought herself up, with the help of Gwalia Housing Association and Llety Llanelli foyer support staff, to whom she is eternally grateful. Her creative motivation is to express her trauma and emotions to inspire others to do the same.
Tony Webb was born and bred in the East Side region of Swansea, ‘where its industrial heartland was’. He attended Cwm Junior School and Cefn Hengoed School in Winchwen/Bonymaen and was hopeless at all subjects except English. He wrote his first story at the age of 10. His work has been widely published. He is also a vocalist/guitar player and singer in the well-known Swansea Folk/Rock band Sparrow Lane. He is a committed socialist who would like to see an independent socialist Wales.
Gwenno Dafydd has been a professional actress, singer and writer since 1980 working in television, radio, theatre, cabaret, Theatre in Education and concerts all over Europe, Los Angeles and New York, but predominantly in Wales. She has also had a parallel career in knowledge sharing since 1998 with a focus on Equality, Diversity and Leadership Coaching. She works globally by Zoom as a Master Public Speaking Coach and contributes extensively to global podcasts on a variety of subjects to do with management and women in the workplace. She is the author of Stand up & Sock it to them Sister. Funny, Feisty Females (Parthian Press 2016); a one woman show about Edith Piaf entitled No Regrets which was published in One Woman One Voice (Parthian Press 2000 & 2005); a stage play, about the Falklands War, entitled Paying the full Whack; numerous scripts for children in Theatre in Education productions; eight pieces of children’s poetry published in the Llyfrau Lloerig (Bonkers Books) (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch) series; and Santa ar Streic? (Santa on Strike?) for BBC Radio Cymru.
Samantha Mansi is an LGBTQIA+, Swansea-based poet and left-wing activist, currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing. She works for POBL and is getting ready to launch a dog walking and sitting business in the Swansea area. Samantha has been on a journey of healing from being culted, surviving trauma of abuse with inner-child healing, of which she has considerable expertise and knowledge. She took part in the Miss Mystic Pageant in 2021, achieving the Mystic Ambassador title, and featured in the adjoining charity calendar. Samantha is currently writing a novel about her survivorhood and is hoping to publish It next year.