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Isle of Anglesey County Council


‘Crossing Beaches’ exhibition at the Kyffin Williams Gallery

Posted on 15 July 2019

On the 20th of July, Oriel Môn will open the doors of the Kyffin Williams Gallery to a very impressive exhibition entitled ‘Crossing Beaches’.

 This is a private collection of around 90 works of art collected over a period of thirty years by Ken Owen and the late Sian Owen. Amongst the paintings are works by some of Wales’s foremost artists, from Augustus John to Kyffin Williams, Ed Povey to Meirion Ginsberg, Shani Rhys James to Claudia Williams and many more.

Sian and Ken Owen began collecting works of art in 1990, the year they married. Ken explained, “The exhibition has been called ‘Crossing Beaches’ because the first painting we bought was ‘Traeth Gwyllt’ (Wild Beach) by Selwyn Jones, and the last one was ‘Traeth Glas’ (Blue Beach) by Lesely Birch. The title of the exhibition comes from the well-known poem by Gwyn Thomas, ‘Croesi Traeth’ (Crossing a Beach):

Y mae hen ddihareb Rwsiaidd sy’n dweud,

“Nid croesi cae yw byw.”

Cywir: croesi traeth ydyw. 

[An old Russian proverb states,

“To live life is not to cross a field.”

In truth: life is to cross a beach.]

When they began collecting about thirty years ago, Ken and Sian had no idea that they would eventually have a collection of more than 90 pictures. “The collection grew gradually, from painting to painting. We always bought the paintings because they excited us. A picture must give pleasure, challenge, arouse curiosity – or what’s the point?”

“Oriel Môn is very proud to be holding an exhibition such as this one – to give people the opportunity to see works of art and a collection that is in private ownership. It includes very impressive paintings by some of the most prominent artists working in Wales”, said Esther Roberts, the Oriel’s General Manager. “The exhibition also poses questions about collecting and curating, the passion, desire and reasons behind a collection like this one.”

 Ken explains; “A few paintings came directly from the artist’s studio and have never been exhibited. Others were gifts from artists and some were special commissions. It will be good to have other people judge them, and hopefully, to appreciate them.”

Ken added, “After purchasing the pictures as a couple over a quarter of a century, it was an odd experience to start buying by myself, without the benefit of Sian’s excellent eye for art. Looking at the collection, I am astonished and feel immense pride. ‘Crossing Beaches’ is our legacy”. 

The ‘Crossing Beaches’ exhibition will be on display until January 19th, 2020. Oriel Môn is open daily between 10.00am and 5.00pm and admission is free. For further information please contact 01248 724444 or go to www.orielynysmon.info

Further information

Nicola Gibson, Visitor Experience Manager

01248 752014 / NicolaGibson@ynysmon.gov.uk 


Posted on 15 July 2019