Nalani Hallam has decided to reflect her view of Cardiff from a personal perspective, by creating a self portrait intertwined with the Welsh language.
Her inspiration was to show us that people from all different backgrounds can express themselves via the freedom that being artistic brings with it. Nalani tells us how TheSprout’s commission has liberated her.
“I am a person of colour and I also have disabilities, so I want to help others realise that we can do the same things as able-bodied people.”
“We have just as much talent as anyone else, so I want to inspire people like me but I also wanted to echo a stronger message to everyone, that I won’t let anything or anyone get in my way.”
How does your art reflect Cardiff?
“I wanted to convey that Cardiff is a community, and as much as our fellow Cardiffians may deny it, we are a family. We try to help each other as much as we can.”
This untold camaraderie between the people of Wales’ capital city is what Nalani has tried to emphasise. Her work is designed to unite the people of Cardiff behind the common cause of defying the odds and the unique nature of the city, which makes us all feel connected.
Nalani also has a personal message behind her art, which enforce her own views on life and how she views Cardiff.
“I support individuality and equality, hence my presentation of myself as an individual. My own relationship with Cardiff is brilliant, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
The art in process
Nalani tells us her portrait took a lot of time, hard work and patience. She told us it was incredible to be able to see her own work on display at the festival, in the centre of her home city.
It was a complex process as well, with lots of different stages involved in the process, including different methods of art.
“I used lots of different mediums, like alcohol markers and oil markers, as well as oil pastilles and pencils because I wanted to show off my versatility, as an artist. I now feel as if I have proved myself, as an artist, to everyone who was anticipating what I would create.”
This correlates with Nalani’s love of art and her desire to express herself in a non-conventional way. Because her art is taken from a personal perspective, each individual feels a different kind of relationship with the piece, as opposed to a collective affinity that everyone feels at once.
“I like art because it makes me feel free. I can portray different emotions and I can practise my own artistic skills. I have always found art to be a stress reliever. If I ever have a bad day or I want to do something different, art acts as my escape from reality and I hope that is what my art expresses.”
Finally, the brainwave which was including the Welsh language in her art struck the 15-year-old.
All the things that matter to her, including Cartref (Home), Hapusrwydd (Happiness) and Teulu (Family) are reflected in her work.
Cardiff contains all these things and more for Nalani, and for many of us all the things we hold dear are close to us. To Nalani, this is what her home city means to her. This is what Cardiff means to young people.