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The People’s Pottery Piano unveiled at Swansea Railway Station

29 March 2018

The People’s Pottery Piano unveiled at Swansea Railway Station: Swansea opening (1 of 1)

THE PEOPLE’S POTTERY PIANO, the first of three decorative pianos created for the Pianos for High Street project, has been unveiled at Swansea Railway Station with the support of Arriva Trains Wales.

Pianos for High street is a community project that aims to encourage art and music into the community of Swansea through the up-cycling of old pianos. 'The People's Pottery Piano' is a collaborative project with artists Mark Stephenson and Nazma Ali of the HigherStreet International, Tom Morris, Rufus Mufasa, Unity and Rowena Griffiths.

The artists have decorated the piano in beautiful mosaics made from recycled blue willow pottery donated by people across Swansea.

 The launch opened with Christopher Scamp, otherwise known as the Piano Man, playing to commuters on the afternoon of 28 March. The performances gave the piano a great start in its new musical and artistic life at the railway station, where now anyone can come and make music on it.

The vision of 'People’s Pottery Piano' was to recognise and celebrate the unique history of Swansea’s world-class ceramics, largely under-studied and under-celebrated outside Wales. The launch performances connected this history to contemporary stories through an original script that combined bilingual beat poetry, song, looping and hip hop beats. Elements from the script can be read on the piano, as part of the mosaic artwork.

Swansea piano pic
Swansea piano pic

Stewart Keay, Station Manager for Swansea commented: “This is a fantastic community led project which will provide a real connection between the people of Swansea and the station that serves the city. We are proud to be the gateway to the city and we hope that the kind donation of the piano to the concourse will be a real delight for users at the station.”

Pianos for High Street is the brainchild of musician and student Rowen Griffiths. Rowena won a small startup grant for the project by public vote at Swansea Soup, an ideas competition which was part of the Trouble Maker's Festival 2017.

Rowena said: “I am so excited about this project, which is all about engaging people in our public spaces through a love of the arts. With their current focus on the old Swansea potteries, collaborating with the HigherStreet International has brought something extra to the project. I urge everyone in the High Street community and the wider Swansea area to come together and help the city to gain a better understanding of an under-celebrated part of its industrial heritage.”

Work on the second piano in the Pianos for High Street project is already underway. Artist Rhiannon Morgan worked with pupils from Ysgol Crug Glas at Volcano, to create artwork out of sensory materials, and through sensory play. The materials and textures that the pupils played with will be applied to the piano, as well as their painted artworks and handprints. The artwork and idea for the piano was inspired by artist Arwen Roberts’ sensory play workshop.



Contact information

Lewis Brencher

Notes to editors

The Higher Street International (HI) is an emerging creative practice based in Swansea concerned with ground-up place-making activity viewed mainly through the lens of contemporary arts and culture. For further information contact Mark Stephenson or Nazma Ali on  07952 863318 / 07446 553286

Rufus Mufasa is a bilingual rapper and singer songwriter, championing cross-artform collaboration. She has established international links with her literary activism. Collaborator with Welsh Dub legends, Llwybr Llaethog, founding member of Cardiff’s Dope Biscuits, and proud mother of two, Rufus recently released a solo album, receiving critical acclaim. She is in receipt of a writer’s bursary from Literature Wales to develop her poetry collection.  

Amelia Thomas, aka Unity, is a hip-hop activist, best known for her colourful, feminine murals, and success in establishing Cardiff’s Millenium Walkway Graffiti Hall of Fame and the International Bboy (‘Break’ dance) event ‘Cardiff City Kings’. A self-taught visual artist, Unity is also a Bgirl, lyricist and sound explorer, using a loop pedal to create audio to complement performance poetry by herself and Rufus Mufasa.

Troublemakers’ Festival 2017 was a cornerstone project of From the Station to the Sea, a partnership between Volcano Theatre Company and Coastal Housing Group that is all about Swansea High Street. Funded by the Arts Council of Wales through its Ideas:People:Places initiative, Station2Sea is a programme of arts-led projects developed to address the needs and concerns of particular constituencies, delivered by innovative collaborations that aim to stimulate new ways of working and a progressive, engagement-focused approach to urban regeneration. For further information contact Carrie Rhys-Davies 01792 464790 / 07949 529856.

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