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Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography

Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography

Looking for America. 1 – 31 October 2015. 22 Sep 2015

Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography

Ffotogallery and its partners are delighted to announce the second edition of Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography.

With over 20 separate exhibitions Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography will take place in diverse venues across Cardiff city centre, Cardiff Bay and Penarth. Displays will occupy disused shops, the former National Express ticket office, a cinema and bowling ring complex and derelict Victorian buildings that were once used by coal merchants. In addition the festival will take over Cardiff’s key arts venues from Ffotogallery and Chapter to the Wales Millennium Centre and the Norwegian Church. Featuring a number of new commissions and premieres as well as work by up and coming artists from both sides of the Atlantic, Diffusion is both a celebration of the power of photography and an exploration of the many different aspects of ‘The American Dream’.

Images from 50 international, UK and Wales based photographers will make up the programme for Diffusion 2015, many of whom will be in Cardiff to discuss their work and take part in a Portfolio Review on October 29th, followed by an International Symposium at Chapter on the 30th.

Festival Director David Drake explains:

"The American Dream still holds an important place in the public imagination, and Diffusion will explore different aspects of contemporary American experience and influence, from both sides of the Atlantic. We are especially interested in exploring Wales’ relationship with the Americas, North and South, including of course Patagonia, for which 2015 marks the 150 year anniversary of the Welsh presence there".

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: "Following the successful inaugural event in 2013 I’m delighted that the Welsh Government is continuing to support Diffusion’s continued growth and development. The plans for the 2015 festival which focus on America, one of our key tourism markets, are certain to capture the imagination of many, as well as raise Cardiff and Wales' international reputation as a centre for contemporary art, media and design. I look forward to visiting many sites across the city in October."

Festival highlights include And Now It’s Dark, an exhibition of American night photography featuring three important contemporary American photographers - Jeff Brouws, Todd Hido and Will Steacy. Serge Clément’s Dépaysé offers a psycho-geographical tour of his native Montreal drawing on various bodies of work spanning forty years. The powerful exhibition As It was Give(n) to Me by Kentucky born artist Stacy Kranitz’s invites comparisons between the economic struggles of mining communities in Wales and in central Appalachia. Welsh photographer Jack Latham‘s A Pink Flamingo takes us on a journey along the Oregon Trail – a route that has become part of American history and embedded itself in the dreams of those looking for something better on the horizon of somewhere else.

Clémentine Schneidermann’s I called her Lisa Marie poignantly celebrates Elvis mythologies and obsessions as found in Porthcawl and Memphis. In High School and Right photographer Jona Frank captures the hopes, fears and aspirations of young Americans from different class and cultural backgrounds. The husband and wife artistic team of Hillerbrand+Magsamen incorporate humour, performance, video and everyday objects from their personal family life into a contemporary art conversation about family dynamics, suburban life and American consumer excess.

The festival will also explore links between Wales and the Caribbean. The work arising from artist Julian Germain’s commission for the Hidden Presence project will be premiered at Diffusion 2015. In partnership with Chepstow Museum and Butetown History and Arts Centre, Ffotogallery has been working with schools and community groups to explore the history of Nathaniel Wells’ country seat, Piercefield House and and the relationship between the sea ports of South Wales and Wells’ birthplace, St Kitts in the West Indies.

The Caravan Gallery will present their national touring Pride of Place Project, which includes their mobile exhibition venue, at the festival in order to look for America in Cardiff, engaging with local people in places that normal galleries might not easily reach, to take the festival city wide.

Having built a wide base of partnerships in Wales and internationally, Diffusion is about bringing new international art to Wales whilst showcasing Welsh talent, and as was the case for the first festival, Diffusion 2015 will draw on a significant pool of talent and contacts developed by Ffotogallery over the last three decades. The excitement of directly participating in the festival, and the international reach and visibility of the event, will be further enhanced through printed and online publications, websites, mobile content and discussion on social media platforms and public realm interactive experiences.

The festival Opening Weekend, 1 – 4th October, sees exhibitions and events across the city, including the Civic Opening at the Senedd. Throughout the month there will be exhibitions, artist talks and workshops, schools’ programmes around the city, culminating in the Diffusion international symposium at the end of October.

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