Wrexham Souvenirs Project

In November 2017, to accompany the This is Wrexham Exhibition, six artists were selected to develop a souvenir each inspired by an influential figure or folklore central to Wrexham.

The six stories that inspired the souvenirs were chosen by the public from an initial long list of 25 options.

Bedwyr Williams – Wrexham is the Name
– Wrexham Football Club

Bedwyr Williams is an Abergele-based artist of international renown. Bedwyr’s souvenir is a celebration of Wrexham’s footballing heritage in the form of a traditional football scarf. The scarf features words taken from a favourite Wrexham chant, which also informed the title of the exhibition: “Wrexham is the name”.

Wrexham is steeped in footballing heritage and home to the oldest international football stadium ‘The Racecourse’ was opened in 1807 and still hosts matches. The Football Association of Wales was also founded in Wrexham in 1876 at the Wynnstay Arms Hotel.

Marcus Orlandi is a London-based performance artists and activist. Taking influence from Wrexham’s relationship with the Welsh language, Marcus produced a banner emblazoned with the slogan “Mother Tafod”. This message combined English and Welsh words to highlight that native speakers of both languages live side-by-side in Wrexham

‘Mother Tafod’ slogan T-shirts are available in the gallery shop.

Marcus Orlandi – Mother Tafod –
Language spoken in a border town

Nicholas Pankhurst – Burmese Bell
– Royal Welsh Fusiliers

London-based artist Nicholas Pankhurst developed a candle in the form of the Burma Bell. The candle burns down to reveals a metal replica of the ‘Incomparable Pagoda’ Temple in Mandalay.

In 1885 three brass bells from the Buddhist Temple, were brought to the country as the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers returned from the Burma War. One of these great bells made it to Wrexham. Today the Bell resides in Bodhyfryd, in the Burma Garden, a memorial to the huge number from the area who lost their lives in the far east in WWII.

John Merrill is a sculptor based in North Wales who works primarily in Oak. John worked on a concept called ‘The Chemistry of Kindness’. This a reference to the kindness and generosity of Marjorie Dykins who founded the Wrexham-based charity AVOW. Marjorie worked as a chemist, winning a scholarship to study biochemistry at Rutgers University, USA, in the 1950s.

Marjorie is representative of many people who volunteer so much of their time for the benefit of their communities in Wrexham.

John Merrill – Marjorie Dykins OBE
– The DNA of Kindness

Martha Todd – Wrexham Welcome
– Solidarity in Sport

Originally from the Wrexham region, Martha Todd is a London-based ceramic artist. Martha’s souvenir, a water bottle set with beakers, was inspired by Wrexham being a welcoming town. The story initially focused on Gaye Jacobsen, who regularly welcomes visitors from far and wide to stay at her home. Martha also incorporated the Bellevue FC football team into her research. Bellevue FC is a multi-ethnic football team based at the town’s Bellevue Park, welcoming players from black and ethnic minority groups. The bottle and beakers are decorated with the words ‘One Body’ in the various languages spoken by the club’s players.

Sophia Leadill is a Wrexham-based artist and educator. For ‘Wrexham Is The Name’, Sophia worked with multiple artists and community groups to develop a Wrexham themed colouring book ‘Everyone’s Activity and Colouring Book’. The book is inspired by the considerable number of makers currently living and working in Wrexham and was developed through a series of workshops held across Wrexham from Gwersyllt to Penley. It is dedicated to the people of Wrexham. Wrexham has a history of craft and industry, from brickmaking to paper.

Sophia Leadill – The Town That Makes – Collaborative Creation

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