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Design Grads Create The Art and Soul of Cardiff

21 October 2021

Filed Under:

Design for Performance

This summer the historic arcades of Cardiff were transformed into a new art gallery showcasing the artwork of RWCMD Design for Performance grads.

The seven pieces of art, each by a different graduate and made from upcycled or recycled materials, were hung in Cardiff’s seven historic arcades as part of the City of Arcades project.

Entitled The Art and Soul of Cardiff, the collaboration between the College and FOR Cardiff aims to make art and culture more accessible to the public.

Check out our video featuring the graduate’s artwork below, with music created especially for the film by Composition student, Jonathan Daglish.

Working with the College, the artworks were commissioned by FOR Cardiff in June.

RWCMD Design grads were offered the chance to apply, and each successful applicant was given a specific brief, choosing one of seven themes relevant to Cardiff that together make it a unique city of culture. The artwork had to be created out of upcycled or recycled materials, be a ‘sculpture style’ piece, and a ‘spectacle’ that made visitors look up.

‘After a difficult 18-months for those in the creative industry, we’re delighted to play our part in this year’s campaign, and help give creatives the boost and exposure they need and showcase the extraordinary talents of our Design for Performance graduates,’ said Sean Crowley, RWCMD’s Director of Drama

The Artworks

The seven themes for the pieces of art were History, Education, Green Spaces, Food & Drink, Sports, Arts & Theatre, and Music.

Gabrielle Moore’s weeping willow style structure of musical notes in Duke Street Arcade referenced the various kinds of music that make up the sounds of Cardiff.

Inspired by Cardiff market, Cadi Lane’s artwork in Wyndham Arcade was based on fruit and vegetables, with faces representing the unique characters you might meet in the city. Cadi believes that in Cardiff you’re never far from a friendly face.

Cadi Lane’s artwork in Wyndham Arcade

The huge abstract figure suspended in the Morgan Arcade represents the Arts & Theatre. Created by Petros Kourtellaris (pictured in the feature image),  it was inspired by artefacts in Cardiff Museum.

The wire figures suspended on a tight rope in the Royal Arcade were created by Sophie Kahn, reflecting the balancing act that is being a student. The electric cables were sourced from a building that was being stripped.

Rory Fleming, Centre Manager of the Morgan Quarter, said, ‘The Morgan and Royal arcades are filled with some of the city’s most unique businesses, and this incredible exhibition will help drive footfall through the arcades, and into stores.’

Celebrating Cardiff’s sports, Brad Caleb Lee‘s silhouettes in Dominions Arcade were influenced both by the many sports offered in Cardiff and the electric atmosphere the crowds bring to the city.

Created by Oliver Harman, the tapestries found in the Castle Arcade were informed by Cardiff Castle, specifically the famous animal wall built in the 1890s.

The Green Spaces of Bute Park and Sophia Gardens inspired the flower and insect sculptures in High Street Arcade, created by Seren Noel, who wanted to send an environmental message using natural and recycled materials.

Cardiff is known as the City of Arcades, as it’s home to the biggest concentration of Victorian, Edwardian, and modern-day indoor shopping arcades in Britain.

The City of Arcades project was launched to increase footfall and exposure to the unique businesses in the arcades.

Huge congratulations to our graduates on their spectacular artworks, and the positive impact they have made on the arcades and the local community.

Find out more about the Design for Performance course here.

You can read more about the project on the City of Arcades website and in the news article here.


The pieces of art, their artists, and the arcades where they were hung:

Music, Gabrielle J Moore, Duke Street Arcade

Fruit & Veg, Cadi Lane, Wyndham Arcade

Arts & Theatre, Petros Kourtellaris, Morgan Arcade

Education, Sophie Kahn, The Royal Arcade

History, Oliver Harman, The Castle Arcade

Sport, Brad Caleb Lee, Dominions Arcade

Green Spaces, Seren Noel, High Street Arcade

Read more about Composition student Jonathan Daglish on his website:

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