Y Dynfa Lés

Y Dynfa Lés, an animation installation, was a component of Llam y Llusern, which was commissioned by the Severn Rivers Trust as a large-scale participative event aimed at reconnecting communities with the river. It was devised in collaboration with David Chadwick of pa-Boom.

It took the extraordinary life cycle of the salmon as emblem of circular time, journeys (and the revised perspectives they bring) and the persistent call of the home ‘pool’. A universal narrative then, seminally related in Homer’s Odyssey but extant in myriad forms and contexts elsewhere.

Paper cut-outs in motion; animation stills depicting the life cycle of the salmon

It was presented in two formats; one smaller – The River Of Light – enabling it to reach small, dispersed rural communities in the Upper Severn Catchment – and another much larger in Newtown, Powys. Here, a landscape sized installation was created in Parc Dolerw with over a thousand people of all ages participating in its realisation.

The Newtown event coincided with the salmon run in the Severn (which flows through the park). It’s tempting to think that the surprisingly high level of engagement by local families was precipitated by the re-awakening of an inbuilt biological clock that resides within us all – but which modern living has largely suppressed. But, more immediately, it’s undeniable that for many, emotional memory of childhood experience of the river played a highly significant and catalytic role in the realisation of this intergenerational event of quiet power and resonance.

The animated piece Y Dynfa Lés was presented within a large conical structure at the head of the ‘river’, acting as a ‘font’ from which the river of light flowed. It contained a series of gauze screens creating multi-layered images suggestive of time and memory. It’s soundtrack features the triple harp of Maldwyn played by Christine Mills and the poem Grim y Lli (The Power Of The Flow) by Dyffryn Banw farmer/poet and language activist Arwyn Davies.

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