National Open Art Welsh Award Winner Announced

National Open Art Welsh Award Winner Announced


A Powys-based artist has been named winner of The National Open Art 2016 Welsh Award for a work depicting bombed houses in Syria inspired by her childhood memories of post-Blitz London.

Gini Wade, a retired book illustrator aged 72 from Llanidloes, won the award for her print entitled Home 2 – Regeneration, created with the help of her granddaughter Celeste, in response to the war in Syria.

Sponsored by Wales’ first contemporary art hotel Twr y Felin, and sister properties Roch Castle and Penrhiw Hotel in Pembrokeshire, the award will see Gini’s print being exhibited in venues throughout the UK including galleries in London and Chichester.

As an illustrator Gini first gained recognition for her work creating the record cover artwork of the ‘Lizard’ album by progressive rock band King Crimson in 1970. Gini says she is now “flabbergasted” to have won this latest accolade

Presenting the award to Gini, Paula Ellis, Group General Manager of Twr y Felin Hotel, Roch Castle and Penrhiw Hotel, said:

“We congratulate Gini Wade for this incredibly moving piece which contrasts the realities of war with the poignant innocence of childhood. Our hotels have been created around a love of great contemporary art inspired by Pembrokeshire and the quality of Gini’s work would certainly be a welcome addition to our collections in future.”

Gini, who visited Syria 20 years ago, describes herself as “horrified” by the crisis engulfing the country. She says images of bombed out houses there have evoked memories from her own childhood, inspiring her to create the winning piece.

Born in Surrey in 1944, Gini often visited London with her family and remembers the aftermath of the Blitz clearly.

The artist then incorporated her granddaughter’s stick drawings of a family and a house into the print series, which she ultimately describes as “a message of hope.”

“I went and visited Mile End, which had been so badly bombed in the war, when I was working on this series,” she says. “It was absolutely flourishing, people were out enjoying the park, children were being pushed in pushchairs, and it made me think how quickly things regenerate, how quickly people forget. It’s a hopeful message.”

She originally studied printmaking and graphic design at Central St Martins, before her career as a book illustrator. Gini then took up printmaking in her 60s and went on to gain a Masters in the subject at the Aberystwyth School of Art.

Gini now teaches printmaking at Sydney Nolan Trust in Presteigne, Powys, something that helps fund her artwork. Her prints are held in the Wellcome Library Collection and in the Contemporary Art Society for Wales Collection.