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Meinir Mathias- Artist Snapshot

(English Translation Below)


Mae’r post hon wedi’u chael eu hysbrydoli gan yr erthygl mewn Golwg, Gorffennaf 23 2020 ac mae wedi cymryd dyfyniadau ohono.


Ers tro, mae hanes lleol a’r cof diwylliannol wedi ysbrydoli gwaith celf Meinir Mathias. Rai blynyddoedd yn ôl, dechreuodd hel meddylia am Ferched Beca, ar ôl sylwi nad oedd yna lawer o ddelweddau o’r ymgyrchwyr enwog ar gael, felly aeth ati i’w portreadu yn ei ffordd ei hun.



“Fe ddigwyddodd y peth cyn amser ffotograffau, neu os oedd yna rai o’r cyfnod, nid oedd yna luniau o Ferched Beca” meddai Meinir ….“Ac mae’r delweddau sydd mas na yn ddarluniadol, yn bethau i bapurau newydd ar y pryd. Dwi’n hoffi’r syniad yna eu bod nhw mewn paentiadau olew yn hytrach na sgetsh neu ddarluniad mewn papur newydd’


Pan glywn straeon am y Merched Beca gallant deimlo fel chwedlau anghofiedig, gall creu darluniau gweledol modern o’r protestwyr danio ein diddordeb yn y digwyddiadau hyn a choffau hanes Cymru ar gyfer cenedlaethau newydd. Trwy ei gwaith mae’n mynd i’r afael a syniadau ynghylch arwyr gwrthryfelwyr a chenedlaethol. Mae’r syniadau hyn yn debyg i’n hinsawdd wleidyddol a diwylliannol gyfredol.



Pwy oedd y Merched Beca?


Gwrthryfel gwerinol oedd Helyntion Beca, yn erbyn y tollau a godwyd am deithio ar hyd y ffyrdd tyrpeg a barodd o 1839 i 1844. Roedd y gatiau doll yn cael eu hystyried yn gynrychioliadau diriaethol o drethi a thollau uchel a orfodwyd ar y bobl leol gan y Senedd. Gwisgoedd yr ymgyrchwyr ddillad menywod, a duo’u hwynebau neu wisgo masgiau, er mwyn peidio â chael eu hadnabod, ac arfogi eu hunain a phicweirch. Fe lwyddon nhw i ddryllio dros gant o dollbyrth ledled y de-orllewin, ac roedd yr helynt ar ei waetha yn Sir Gaerfyrddin. Yn 1844 pasiwyd deddf Seneddol i gydgrynhoi a diwygio’r deddfau sy’n ymwneud ag ymddiriedolaethau tyrpeg yng Nghymru.


“Ar y pryd, rodden nhw’n cael eu trin gan yr awdurdodau fel troseddwyr.. nawr maen nhw’n gaul eu rhamanteiddio braidd fel rhyw fath o arwyr. Ro’n i’n mo’yn eu paentio nhw, eu nodi nhw, ond mae’n holi’r cwestiwn yna hefyd… roedden nhw’n protestio ac yn mynd yn erbyn y gyfraith, ychydig bach yn debyg i fel mae protestwyr Black Lives Matter heddiw, a’r ymateb yn eitha cymysg. Mae’n eitha diddorol i’w weld..unwaith maen nhw wedi newid pethau dros amser, mewn sawl cenhedlaeth, r’yn ni’n edrych arnyn nhw fel arwyr”



Gwelwch mwy amdano ar Instagram @meinirmathias_art

Darllenwch yr erthygl llawn o Golwg 23 Gorffenaf 2020

This blog post is inspired by and has taken excerpts from the article in Golwg magazine 23 July 2020


Local Welsh history and our cultural heritage have long been inspirations for Meinir Mathias. A few years ago she began to move her attention towards the Merched Beca (Rebecca Girls) after realising that there were not may depictions of the protesters.


She states (In Welsh) “The event occurred before the time of photographs, or if there were some images of that time, there were none of the Merched Beca” she continues.. “The depictions that are available, are illustrated (like cartoons) things for newspapers at the time. I like the idea that they are made into oil paintings rather than mere sketches or cartoons in a news paper”



This idea humanises the people involved in the protests, the newspaper cartoons only depict them as violent rioters. When we hear stories of the Merched Beca they can feel like long forgotten tales, creating modern visual depictions of the protestors can ignite our fascination with these events and remembrance of Welsh history for newer generations. Through her work she tackles ideas surrounding rebel and national heroes. These ideas resemble our current political and cultural climate.


Who were the Merched Beca?


The Merched Beca riots were uprisings against the tolls that were placed on the local farmers and agricultural workers for travelling along the turnpike roads, which lasted from 1839 to 1844. The toll gates were seen as tangible representations of high taxes and tolls imposed on the locals by Parliament. The campaigners wore traditional women’s clothes and blackened their faces or wore masks in order to conceal their identity. They armed themselves with pitchforks. They succeeded in wrecking over a hundred toll stations in South West Wales, the fight was the hardest in Carmarthenshire. In 1844 a Parliamentary act to consolidate and amend the laws relating to turnpike trusts in Wales was passed.


“At the time they were being treated by the authorities like criminals.. now they are romanticised somewhat like heroes. I wanted to paint them to give them an identity, but it sparks the question.. they were protesting and breaking the law, a little like the protests of Black Lives Matter today, with a very mixed response. It’s interesting to see.. once they had actually changed things for the better over time, over a few generations, now we see them differently, now we see them as heroes.”


To see more of Meiner Mathias's work head to Instagram @meinirmathias_art




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