As part of the Summer of Smiles festival in Cardiff during the summer of 2021, young creatives aged between 14-18 were given the opportunity to get involved in a commission.
Each successful applicant would earn £300 in exchange for creating a piece of art that reflects what it’s like to be a young Cardiffian. The young people had 3 weeks to create the art from concept to finished piece. The finished pieces were then exhibited during the final week of the Summer of Smiles main festival site with the young artists proudly showing off their work. Here’s a recap of our talented creatives and their work.
Rosie Pearn, 17
Rosie’s art is a pop-up piece, designed to bring her own vision of Cardiff to life in model form. Rosie’s work was inspired by the history behind the city, particularly Cardiff Castle.
She says that “the piece comes together as if you are looking down on the castle and on the side are town houses and restaurants that represent a modern, vibrant city. I’ve got little characters that assume the form of ducks, rats and fish which are just going about their day, doing their thing. In that respect, it offers a real insight into the lives of normal people in Cardiff.”
To read more about Rosie and her work, click here.
Faaris Ahmad, 14
This video, both filmed and edited by Faaris, focuses on the inclusivity and diversity within Cardiff, as well as all the activities that young people can get involved in.
Faaris shares: “I have had so many positive experiences in Cardiff, as a young person. It is a diverse, inclusive and friendly city. As an Asian person, I have noticed that everyone is supportive of you regardless of where you come from, so it is comforting to know that there is a support structure around you in this wonderful city.”
To read more about Faaris and his work, click here.
Saabiqah’s super-hero like character is perched on the iconic Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay, which is her favourite place in the city.
She explains: “growing up, I never saw superheroes with scarves bearing the colours of Pakistan and Somalia. I have never seen a Muslim superhero. Through this character, I am reflecting myself and my personality. I decided to make a British Pakistani girl. She lives in Cardiff, goes to school, and she lives her life as any other Muslim teenager would. She represents me in a way, but she also represents all the other Muslim girls in Cardiff.”
To read more about Saabiqah and her work, click here.
Eshaan Rajesh, 17
Eshaan’s art reflects the diversity of Cardiff’s population within his latest masterpiece, which is now on display outside City Hall, at the main festival site for Summer of Smiles.
He says “my work is a visual representation of the diversity and inclusivity we can find in Cardiff. It consists of the Wales Millennium Centre, and instead of the In These Stones Horizons Sing message on the front of the building, I have included the words Young People Are the Change we Wish to see in Cardiff. It’s an inspirational message because it reinforces the role that young people have to play in Cardiff and shaping the future of our capital city.”
The foreground depicts the diversity in Cardiff. Eshaan shared that “Including people from different backgrounds was crucial. All the people in the graphic are from different religious, racial and cultural upbringings.”
To read more about Eshaan and his work, click here.
Farah Thomas, 14
Farah’s work is all about championing diversity in Cardiff and visualising our differences while recognising that we are all the same, in some way or another. She especially wanted to represent all the different cultures in Cardiff. She told us that her art embodies the sentiment that we should embrace our differences.
She shares: “I wanted to reflect the diversity in Cardiff, because I feel that our different rituals and traditions are not talked about enough. To show there is a range of people in Cardiff, I wanted to reflect the different experiences of young people in the city and offer them some representation too.”
To read more about Farah and her work, click here.
Nalani Hallam, 15
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.
“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.”
To read more about Nalani and her work, click here.
18-year-old Alicia Niebla Gil-Cervantes pooled her resources into creating a masterpiece which reflects the good, the bad and the ugly in Cardiff. As with everywhere, the city isn’t perfect, and Alicia didn’t want us to lose sight on the issues that can make Cardiff less desirable.
“I have seen various sides of Cardiff and I know both the ugly and the beautiful. The Ugly being postcode wars, drug abuse, gang violence, poverty, dirt, and squalor. The beautiful being unity in the communities, all the beautiful parks and the nature in the city.”
To read more about Alicia and her work, click here.
Want to know a bit more about these young people’s relationship with Cardiff? Click here!