Iwan Bala is a well known artist and author in Wales and has worked extensively overseas. He was born in 1956 and brought up in Sarnau near Bala, North Wales. Since 1974 he has lived and worked in Wales’ capital city, Cardiff.
Iwan Bala is an artist and writer whose paintings, drawings and assemblages, explore cultural identity; the notion of ‘belonging’ to a specific place whilst also being a citizen of the wider world. He has exhibited extensively in Wales and abroad, including Mexico, Hong Kong, Galicia, USA, Zimbabwe, Croatia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany and Brittany, often participating in events and also lecturing. He writes in Welsh and English. Publications include Here + Now (2003), Offerings + Reinventions (2000), Certain Welsh Artists (1999), and Darllen Delweddau (1999).
For me, visual art is a matter of culture, a means by which I can fumble around within my own background and roots, in order to discover some flicker of light. Art is provocative, and needs to question every false certainty and every fabricated icon. After all, history and tradition is the work of man, and is a moveable feast, growing and changing with time. The sign of a strong culture is that it allows for re-invention and a questioning of everything within itself. Tradition is a starting point for me, an example would be the legend of Ynys Gwales in The Mabinogi, which, in the publication ‘Hon’ has grown to encompass the tragedy of 09/11 as well as the state of contemporary Welshness. I see my work as a sort of ‘mapping’ of my feelings towards identity and culture