In the arts you tend to find yourself attending exhibitions and events in unusual locations. In the past I’ve attended exhibitions in front rooms, old factories, old shops, basements, on boats, in a former public toilet, through my phone and, on one memorable occasion, the pointy, sticky out bit of Cardiff barrage at sunset with a trumpeter playing a selection of trumpet tunes.
I guess it is either an example of the temporary, transitory nature of our buildings or the dexterity and flexibility of the arts. That they can, like water, flow into and appropriate any structure. Engels once said “the normal state (of man) is one appropriate to his consciousness, one that had yet to be created by himself.” This could be said to be especially true of the arts and their creative exhibition locations.
Basically what I’m saying is you find art in the most surprising of places. So when I heard about “All Back to Carol’s” an exhibition in the famous former Roath pet shop “Albany Pets”, it only recorded slightly on the “oh thats unusual” scale.
All Back to Carol’s, an exhibition of contemporary art curated by Becca Thomas and Clare Charles took place in Carol Ivory’s iconic Roath pet shop just off Albany Road. This shop was, as I’m sure most readers will agree, a staple in the street life of Roath.
The artists on display included AJ Stockwell, Elizabeth Hewson, Gail Howard and Nia Metcalfe. Their work was inspired by the space and featured a mixture of media. On offer was a thought provoking and enthralling display of work which seemed to fill and settle nicely, appropriating the former pet shop setting. While the former residences have all found new homes before the exhibition, a generous bowl of doggy treats was placed by the door which a few visiting dogs did enjoy, welcoming Roath’s four legged friends in. The two legged humans of Roath were also welcome of course and as the evening progressed the former pet shop began to fill with more people generating a lively, enjoyable and warm atmosphere.
It’s difficult to know what will become of the pet shop, the future has not written its next life yet but it is pleasant to think that, for a time, Carol’s Ivory store was an exhibition space, playing a key role in many Made in Roath events and exhibitions, displaying a wealth of art of a type too numerous to name and for one last time it did so again. Not just a show located in the shop but a show responding to the very shop itself. A fitting tribute to a fantastic and loved space.