Private View | Dim Gobaith Caneri | Sunday 5th February 12pm

Please join us for the Official Launch & Private view, on Sunday 5th February at 12pm
1 – 27th Feb 2012 | Dim Gobaith Caneri

Michael Payne (Images) & Mike Jenkins (Words / poetry)
Touring Exhibition | Upper Gallery

Dim Gobaith Caneri

A Look at Welsh Idioms and Phrases

Thanks to a grant from the Arts Council of Wales, a poet and a painter from Merthyr Tydfil have created a collaborative exhibition which will be on view in the Washington Gallery, Penarth during February.

Dim Gobaith Caneri (“no hope like a canary”) links paintings with prose-poetry and is inspired by traditional Welsh idioms and phrases.

Both artists respond to the exhibition space independently and here only one of Jenkins’ poems will be used in its entirety; positioned along ceiling beams that run through the gallery’s upper space. Michael Payne said that the aim was always to have the written poetry and micro fiction work independent to the paintings rather than one art form being a response to the other.

The initial concept evolved in 2009 when it was decided to develop the exhibition collaboratively. Both artists have lived in Merthyr Tydfil for over thirty years and share a similar political ideology and view about the value of the Welsh language. Payne explained that the two chose language as the central theme as they were familiar with both its sounds and heritage and stimulated by new and vibrant words and imagery. They focussed on Welsh idioms and phrases as a link between their works. Both grew up with English backgrounds and then decided to learn the language and later send their children through Welsh medium education.

The theme of the exhibition is emphasised by its title. The idiom refers to the old practice where canaries were once taken into mines as an early warning system, to alert men of the presence of toxic gases. References to the Valleys and coal mining in particular is obvious but the use of various Welsh language idioms and other details extend further and into a global context: bankers profits, ecology, the use of fossil fuels etc are all questioned within an exploration of the theme Dim Gobaith Caneri “The presence of animals that and birds that appear within Welsh idioms has also inspired a consideration of nature and the planet ..

The exhibition will be held from February 1st – 27th before moving to The West Wales Arts Centre (March 17 – April 14)


Dim  Gobaith Caneri
by Mike Jenkins


I am the No Hope Canary, singing in the deepest gallery. Below vaults of borrowed money.

Trees rpt eventually, become coal. But what of these notes:surely they will explode.

These last years I have sung and people say – “Listen how tunefully!” They do not hear truly.

If they did , they would find a seam of sorrow there.

I am left in my cage ; no up and down. My beak a useless tool against iron.

Dim………..the  lights are leaving. Who will listen, even when I stop my singing?
Gobaith has shine, but here the only gleam is on damp rock.

The seep of gas from above, from those vaults: the steep banks of paper carcases

I am the No Hope Canary, dumb in the deepest gallery