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Hidden Country: Photographs of the Free Wales Army

Curated by Dr Russell Roberts

The prints show FWA members along with items recovered from raids including ammunition, uniforms and flags, record photography of various locations associated with FWA activity, in contrast with self-determined images that functioned as propaganda through romantic and heroic images of the freedom fighter. The material qualities of the prints in decay are not without a formal or indeed seductive beauty but this invites closer scrutiny of both the image itself, its history as an object, and the social and political conditions behind their making.

As material traces of a particular historical moment some 40 years since the Investiture, the exhibition invites reflection on questions of nationalism and the role of images to both support and undermine it. Hidden Country draws attention to the ways that archives shape historical consciousness and how exhibitions can offer an antidote to forgetting by suggesting new frames of reference. The question of surveillance and subversion, of dominion over potential threat through the power of images, still holds important contemporary relevance, setting the possibilities of ‘direct action’ against the rhetoric of images to generate political discussion and instigate change.