The River Leri is getting plenty of attention at present, due to the activities of artists who are a part of the Cymerau project. Cymerau is all about water; where it comes from, how we use it, how it affects our lives and how we are responsible for taking care of this precious and essential natural resource.
Although part of a much larger project about water, Cymerau focuses on water and people in the area between the lower Dyfi and the smaller rivers that flow into it. Artists who work in a variety of ways and media are involving groups, within the communities of Borth, Tal-y-bont, Bontgoch and the wider area, to explore the theme of water in creative ways.
Those who are attracted to the watery project and who love the River Leri are invited to a special bilingual event in St. Peter's church, Bontgoch (Elerch) on Thursday December 3rd. There will be a warm welcome and a glass of wine at Siop Siarad Bontgoch. The evening starts at 7.00 and will include music by Gwilym Morus-Baird, the opportunity to hear from some experts on water and the chance to contribute your own stories and watery experiences.
The event introduces artist Jane Lloyd Francis's project Ar lan y Leri. This will take place in Spring 2016, during which she and Gwilym will walk the length of the river; exploring, celebrating and recording water flowing from its source to the sea.
The dramatic animated films headlining the event on 19th November had been created in workshops with the children by Vagabondi puppets, led by Jo Munton with Owen Glynne Davies. During the evening some of the adults tried their hand at animation too. However, this was only one of several exciting water projects that were presented during the evening, some of them still in the process of being completed, and including other work with children from the two schools, which had been created with Jude Macklin and Eurig Salisbury.
The exciting launch of Cymerau at Borth in June featured Urchin, a beautiful floating structure designed by Jenny Hall of Craftedspace. This was followed by Water, water everywhere, directed by installation artist Esther Tew. This astonishing event took place in Borth in early October when recorded images and interviews about flood risk where projected onto the walls of houses in Borth main street.
Y Gors is a film about the raised bog, Cors Fochno. Its directors, Anne-Marie Carty and Dafydd Sills-Jones deal with people's relationship to the bog, both past and present and it is accompanied by a soundscape created by Côr y Gors with their leader Nick Jones.
In another project, Jake Whittaker's filmed images of Borth provide a magical background to Peter Stevenson's recorded storytelling. One ongoing project presented during the evening was Penillion i'r Leri. Gwilym Morus-Baird has been leading a group of people in writing poetry in Welsh about their experiences of the River Leri. Gwilym, who gave a taste of the results at the Tal-y-bont event, is setting the poems to music and will be making a CD.
The raffle and refreshments on the night raised £150 for WaterAid and the local Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), thanks to donations from Siop Cynfelin, Davmor Garage and Uncle Albert’s Ice Cream Emporium. 19th November was also World Toilet Day; WaterAid are helping the 2.3 billion people worldwide who do not have access to a safe, private toilet, mostly because of water issues.
There will be much more activity by Cymerau over the next nine months and other opportunities to take part in, or to attend, events similar to that at Tal-y-bont and Bontgoch. One way to keep in touch is by liking the facebook page.
Cymerau is part of the Hydrocitizenship research project funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (www.cymerau.org and www.hydrocitizens.org).
Lucy Morus-Baird or Andy Rowland of ecodyfi: 01654 703965
Hydrocitizenship offers opportunity for creative participation by groups and individuals and involves a wide range of academic disciplines in gathering information about how humans relate to water. It engages with scientific, social and creative ways in which people record and exchange information, ideas and memories about water.
Ecodyfi is the community regeneration group for the Dyfi Valley. It pays particular attention to strengthening the local economy through careful stewardship of natural and cultural resources. It is managed by a Board of 17 local people and is supported through commercial contracts or grants, e.g. from the Welsh Assembly Government, Tourism Partnership Mid Wales and local authorities.