Arts Council of Wales | Dyddiau Du/Dark Days by John Cale
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Dyddiau Du/Dark Days by John Cale

The first showing of John Cale’s Dyddiau Du/Dark Days in north Wales at the National Slate Museum, Llanberis from 25 March-3 April 2011. 23 Mar 2011

Dyddiau Du/Dark Days by John Cale

John Cale’s internationally acclaimed installation Dyddiau Du / Dark Days gets its first screening in north Wales at the National Slate Museum Llanberis this month. From 25 March – 3 April - the installation, which takes the form of four episodes in film and sound across five screens - will be shown in the museum’s foundry.

Cale is primarily known for his experimental approach to music, from being a founding member of the seminal Velvet Underground in New York to the present day. In Dyddiau Du / Dark Days he has made an audio-visual work that is a reflection on the pain and power of a cultural inheritance and its contradictions and meaning for him. In it Cale explores his Welsh heritage - including footage of Garnant, Ammanford at the house where he was born as well as footage of the Dinorwig Quarry at Llanberis.

Speaking about the creation of Dyddiau Du / Dark Days John Cale said: "There were parts of my background that I hadn’t addressed because I hadn’t found the right genre for dealing with them. The real issue for me is how I lost the language – why I speak in English and not in Welsh, which is what I grew up speaking. It’s tied into something very personal and uncomfortable. I wasn’t able to speak to my father, who was an Englishman, until I was seven because my grandmother had banned the use of English in the house.’

"My cinematographer, a mountaineer, sent me a photograph of Dinorwic Quarry in Llanberis, a slate quarry with something like twelve hundred steps on it. So I thought, it’ll be really great to go up these steps as fast as I could whilst saying,"I didn’t do anything, Mum."

Keeper of the National Slate Museum, Dr Dafydd Roberts said: "We're delighted to be the first venue in north Wales to exhibit Cale's internationally acclaimed installation particularly as it features scenes from Dinorwig Slate Quarries amongst other locations in Wales. It will offer a unique experience for our visitors encapsulating industrialisation, visual art as well as a view on Welsh industry, culture and heritage."

Originally commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales as the feature piece for the 53rd Biennale of Art in Venice 2009 Dyddiau Du/ Dark Days received its first showing in Wales at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea in 2010 and it will be shown again later this year as part of the opening of the extended new art galleries at National Museum Cardiff in the Summer of 2011 – a collaboration made possible due to additional support from the Welsh Assembly Government.

David Alston, Arts Director of the Arts Council of Wales said: "As Commissioners of the work for the Venice Biennale, we are now delighted to be working with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales on this presentation of the work throughout Wales. Cale is an artist with a global resonance. He has made a compelling multi-media work engaging deeply with his personal take on Wales and his inheritance, in stunning and moving images, sound, words and music."

Mike Tooby, Director of Learning, Programmes and Development at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales added: "This piece represents an extraordinary journey for John Cale. Through it he shares with his audiences the way memory and experience helps him come to terms with a kind of return home. By the work joining the national collections at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, it can continue to be offered in the future, to many others. It will become a shared comparison of personal journeys to and from Wales."

Dyddiau Du / Dark Days runs at the National Slate Museum Llanberis from 25 March – 3 April 2011. Screenings will be shown hourly and there is no need to book. Admission FREE


For further information contact:

Julie Williams: National Slate Museum 01286 873707 or email:

Sian James: Arts Council of Wales 02920 441344 or email:

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