We are regularly approached by artists and makers who have created coal mine themed art that they think we will want to show in the Workers Gallery. The perception by some artists, particularly those from outside the area is that the Rhondda wants nostalgic art of the mining era. Perhaps some do.
We are trying very hard to move our local community forward beyond the legacy of the coal industry.
Whilst we acknowledge it's importance and host regular talks about the historical aspect of coal locally, we actively try to NOT show work that overtly references mining and miners. We want to show that there is more to the area than coal mining - particularly for the new generation, so we try to avoid images of miners, miner's helmets and pitheads. We are trying to build a current and true picture of the area that acknowledges our own personal ancestry (as descendants of local miners) but also creates a legacy that reflects our current experiences of living life in the unique, vibrant and wonderful Rhondda community.
If artists persist - we do respectfully accept their 'coal mine' themed work, but if we can we encourage them to 'dig deeper' (excuse the pun) and explore imagery that closes the historical gap, this will help us all to begin to reshape the social and cultural landscape of the Rhondda from within. This will then change how it is viewed from 'outside'...