‘Strata’ was an outdoor exhibition sited amongst the ruins of Strata Florida Abbey, the adjacent river bridge and surrounding fields of the community of Pontrhydfendigaid in Wales. ‘Herd Bells’ consisted of a set of bronze herd bells, made in response to those found in Wales centuries ago, now exhibited in the National Museum and Galleries of Wales. A local farmer of Strata Florida used the bells during the exhibition in the valley surrounding the Abbey. ‘A Gate at Ystrad Flflur’ emerged from studying both the tradition of the Welsh Long Poem and the history of the Cistercian Monks who arrived in the area and built the Abbey. Centring on the ‘Gate’, the sung poem calls attention to the relationships between the many indigenous and foreign people who shared the Teifi valley, built and sustained the Abbey. The music was composed and performed by Robert Evans and Mary Ann Roberts in the small church on site during the exhibition. Coincidentally, during the exhibition, archaeologists at the site uncovered the location of the actual gate for the Abbey.
‘‘Strata’ as a site-responsive exhibition is only the visible layer of a much larger responsive process between two village communities: Pontrhydfendigaid in Wales and Kells in Ireland. Historically, both villages were once important sites of centralised power and culture. Their paths from that to present-day peripheries struggling to come to terms with the decline of an agrarian way of life and distant centralised decision-making, trace larger histories and draw attention to global concerns. The presence of Strata as a cultural event within these sites is the result of marginalized communities actively seeking to regenerate their areas.’
Artistic director and co-curator