In the last month I’ve visited three museums, looking at their displays and storage areas, taking photos and drawing. Each one has it’s own personality, but at each the welcome was equally warm. Thanks to the time and interest of staff, my engagement in each area is taking an individual shape, within the context of the whole project.

If a museum can be seen as a container in which a nation, a people, a locality creates a kind of chimerical patchwork identity, part of the pleasure in my visits was seeing beyond the facades, into the inner workings: boxes within boxes. For example, the artefacts on display behind the imposing exterior of Swansea Museum and Art Gallery are drawn from the apparently chaotic contents of the Collections Centre.

At Newport Musem and Art Gallery, the boxes in store, with their cryptic descriptions, stimulate my imagination about potential contents in the way that a poetic text might do.

Back in the studio, I’m developing ideas in a free-flowing exchange between observations of concrete artefacts and imaginative responses as to possible and revealed contents/ownership/purpose/history. For example, how to depict something of the resonance of the first type of secret ballot box, held at Cyfarthfa Castle Museum and Art Gallery?

With re:view mentor Rebecca Spooner, I visited Amanda Roderick, Director of the Mission Gallery, and appreciated being able to show her initial ideas for the project and hear about the priorities for Mission over the next few years.

Thanks to re:view bursary and Rebecca, I’m now on AXIS, as part of widening my profile: www.axisweb.org/p/pennyhallas


Soon after getting the a_n Re:view bursary, I was successful in a bid for an Arts Council Wales research and development grant for a project called Boxing the Chimera. I was excited that the two would run concurrently, giving a really clear focus to discussions with a mentor in reviewing my practice and the way I present it.

This blog will run in tandem with boxingthechimera.blogspot.co.uk in which I try to capture something of my artistic reflections in a slightly more visual way. Here I can record more practical, factual elements.

So firstly, many thanks to a_n for the bursary: although it has taken me some time to start blogging, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.

Thanks too to Rebecca Spooner, who agreed to be my mentor in the re:view process. We have already met several times and I’m feeling the effect of her sensitive but thought provoking challenges.