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Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Whale and yurts in green art show
Giant whale on hillside
The giant whale has been etched on the hillside
A giant whale etched into the hillside is one of the exhibits featuring in an alternative art show taking place in the countryside outside Cardiff.

The Ancient Futures event at the Coed Hills Rural Artspace at the village of St Hilary in the Vale of Glamorgan reached its climax over the weekend.

Rawleigh Clay and Ody Jarman
Festival organisers Rawleigh Clay and Ody Jarman

The artists have built a mini-village in the rolling meadows using Mongolian "yurt" tents.

The yurts are built from carefully crafted supports, using ash branches cut in a nearby wood.

The skeleton is then covered with white canvas - which the artists use as a screen to project their films.

"We've been building and using yurts at Coed Hills for five or six years," said organiser and local artist Rawleigh Clay.

"The concept is how we can learn from the past - what knowledge we can use in contemporary day-to-day living."

"Yurts are a good example - traditionally they are nomadic homes used by the Mongolians and the Turkestan people," said the 30-year-old artist.

Mongolian yurt
Mongolian yurts are the festival centrepieces

"We began by hitchhiking across Europe to an arts festival in Poland - living in a small yurt along the way".

Rawleigh and fellow artist Ody Jarman camped in their yurt in a wide variety of locations, including the centre of Berlin and even on an ice rink.

Their film - also called Ancient Futures - was shown at the Polish festival projected inside their yurt.

"Coed Hills is about providing alternative gallery space," said Mr Clay.

"It's giving another option. Many artists want to move away from those white-walled galleries.

"When an artist comes here, we say 'here's the space, here are the woodlands, here are the indoor workshops - go for it'".

Chalk horses

Among the new art works commissioned is a giant whale, four hundred feet long, carved into the hillside.

The outline, designed by Julian Meredith, is being traced on the landscape using tonnes of gravel and white lime putty.

It is similar to the ancient chalk horses seen in the south of England.

It will be visible from miles around - and is set to become a landmark for passengers flying into Cardiff International Airport, just a few miles away.

Another unusual artwork at Coed Hills is taking shape in a field surrounded by grass and meadow flowers.

"It's a ceramic dome," explained artist Sean Yates.

"We hope it will become a beautiful centrepiece - a permanent ceramic structure that people can use for meditation," says Sean.

Organisers Rawleigh Clay and Ody Jarman hope the festival will be a highlight in the Welsh artistic calendar.

Ancient Futures goes on tour across Britain from 1 July.

See also:

07 Jun 02 | Entertainment
14 May 02 | Entertainment
03 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
26 Feb 01 | UK Education
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