Emma Geliot's picture


Shani Rhys James, img Emma Geliot Shani Rhys James' latest exhibition, Florilingua, opens at the Wales Millennium Centre from June 21 2014. The one-piece installation - a largeroom with hand-painted interior offers an immersive visual and audio experience as poems, written in response to James work, are played out within the room.


Inside the installation, Rhys James characteristic wild and floral painted wallpaper lines the walls, while menacing chandeliers and various domestic items combine to evoke an unsettling atmosphere. Acclaimed poets, including Gillian Clarke and Carol Ann Duffy, have written poems in response to James work, and these poems can be heard within the room. It is almost as if the walls themselves are speaking, telling the stories of women trapped within the wallpaper s frenetic patterning.



Through the compelling dialogue between paint and word, issues of domesticity, rootlessness and the relationship between women and the home arise hauntingly within the claustrophobic space, revealing how the places in which we live can say so much about who we are.



Originally from Australia, James has lived in Wales for over 30 years, and is now one of Wales best loved and respected painters. Writing about the exhibition James has said:The claustrophobia of the interior is a metaphor for that frustration of being unable to express deep feelings of creativity, or to be involved in pertinent worldly issues. My over-scaling of flowers [in the wallpaper] evokes either a cloying or menacing atmosphere, both repellent and seductive.



The seven poets responding to James work are Poet Laureate (2009) Carol Ann Duffy, National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, Menna Elfyn, Jasmine Donahaye, Amy Wack, Pele Cox and Patrick Christopher Kavanagh.



Artistic Director at Wales Millennium Centre, Graeme Farrow, said:I am thrilled that we are exhibiting the work of Shani Rhys James. What fascinates me most aboutFlorilingua is the blending of visual and verbal art to create a truly absorbing and multi-sensory experience.Florilingua is an evocative and unique exhibition that will intrigue all who come to view it.



Florilingua will bein the Wales Millennium Centre foyer from June 21 to August 25 2014. Entrance to the exhibition is free.