Damian Walford Davies is writer on the ‘chamber-work with narrator’ (working-title, The Mare’s Tale) commissioned by the Artistic Director of Mid Wales Chamber Orchestra, James Slater, and Mark Bowden is the composer. Damian set me quite a challenge last month.
2001. Clive Hicks-Jenkins catalogue note for his exhibition The Mare’s Tale.
“For many years I made a daily car journey from Newport to Tretower Court near Crickhowell, and in all that time I don’t think that I once passed through the village of Llanover without slowing to a snail’s pace, drawn by the darkly mysterious painting of a Mari Lwyd hung above the post office door. I’d never seen a Mari Lwyd other than in that painted sign, but my father had, and late in life he recounted his childhood terror of the sheeted horror which had come at him out of the night.’
2013: Artlog post re. the first meeting of the production team for the chamber-work The Mare’s Tale:
‘Snow notwithstanding, the past weekend saw the gathering at Ty Isaf of the production team for the first discussions about the Mid Wales Chamber Orchestra project. Damian spoke about the mysterious, though now, alas, ruinously peeling painted image of a Mari Lwyd on the sign above the old post-office in Llanover, and how it inspired him for a location in which to set his narrative. I made a presentation in which I described how we might visualise the production in practical terms.’
January 2013: I suggest to Damian that I might make ‘a version’ of the Mari Lwyd sign, if he thinks it could be useful for the project. He e-mails back:
‘The thought of you recreating that ‘originary’ image as a painting, but in pub-sign format: swoon. This is going to be very powerful, and of immense potential in the production.’