Sïan Rees Astley (b.1992) is a conceptual artist, based in north Wales. Having graduated in 2015 from the BA Fine Art course in Coleg Menai, Sïan has gone on to exhibit her work nationally and internationally.
Mainly working with conventional or everyday materials and objects, they are freed from their properties and associations and returned to their essence. They are chosen for their sensual qualities and the potential to take the abstracted and deconstructed to create sculptural works in the round and wall-based works. Although the predetermined associations and properties of the objects are changed; the memory embedded within the material still holds true.
Transformation and repetition are key processes within Sïan’s work; material is collated, abstracted and transformed to create something so removed from its initial state that it is unrecognisable, yet its presence undeniably asks you to look again.
This piece was inspired by the natural housing materials clay and wool, which would have been used in Kuwaiti adobes and traditional Bedouin tents. Materials with deep connotations that evoke a sense of nostalgia to a past that has so rapidly changed.
Sïan drew parallels between Kuwait’s Al-Sadu weaving and the Welsh woollen industries. Both feature intricate and complex symbols and marks, despite inspiration being drawn from completely different landscapes. Both are in danger of being lost.
The intention was to create a relic for future generations to embody the yearning of not only an almost antiquated craft but also of a time. Similar to the Welsh feeling of ‘hiraeth’ which can not be translated into the English language, it expresses a feeling of nostalgic longing for either a time you were never present in, with your ancestors for example, or a home that does not exist anymore.
To discuss her experience of the project with her local community and to share her sculpture making process, Sïan did an Artist Talk and also led workshops in gilding at MOSTYN Gallery.
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