Zillah Bowes, Bethan ‘Frondorddu’ and Ruby (portrait in moonlight) from the series Green Dark (2021). C-type print, 62 x 87 x 4cm.

Elan Links and Midlands Arts Centre present Watershed, a group exhibition exploring the history, landscape and culture of Elan Valley in mid Wales.

In the late 19th century, unsafe water led to widespread disease in the growing industrial city of Birmingham. An Act of Parliament was passed, enabling the compulsory purchase of the Elan Valley by the Birmingham Corporation Water Department. A series of reservoirs were created by damming the Elan and Claerwen rivers, and over 100 occupants of the Elan Valley were forced to move.

Watershed presents artistic responses to this controversial change to Welsh land, the connections between these two distinctive landscapes, and the part that people play in nature’s balance.

The exhibition spans across mediums, including photography, sound, film and painting. It gathers material from the Elan Links archive, including a book of etchings from the lead engineer of the dam construction Eustace Tickell, who was moved to capture the valley before it was flooded.

The featured artists took part in a unique residency programme led by Elan Links, including work by artist Rowena Harris made in spring 2023 during their residency with Elan Links and MAC.

The exhibition is being held at MAC in Birmingham, and is presented in both English and Welsh languages.

Watershed opens on 28th June and will run until 5th November 2023, in the Terrace and Community Gallery at Midland Arts Centre. For more information about our events and outreach in Birmingham click here.