Slate or State, Penrhyn Castle

Slate or State in the Grand Hall, Penrhyn Castle


2 July 2017


Penrhyn Castle, Llandegai, Bangor
SH 60219 71962; 53.22624°N, 4.09534°W


The installation, entitled Slate or State, is on display in the Grand Hall of Penrhyn Castle from 1 July until 5 November 2017.

“This sculpture was developed as part of a year-long residency by artists Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich. It is a symbolic object; its form is drawn from Victorian paintings and sketches of Penrhyn Quarry, the quarry once owned by Lord Penrhyn.

“The choice of material for the sculpture draws inspiration from the history of protest, and large-scale inflatables that since the 1920s have taken to the streets in collective actions that have called for a fairer society.

“Walker and Bromwich are known internationally for their large-scale participatory events and exhibitions that invite audiences to imagine better worlds. Their residency at Penrhyn Castle was the final act of a three-year collaboration between Arts Council Wales and the National Trust, and their brief was to “interrogate the castle’s controversial history, the stories surrounding it and its relationship with local communities”.

“The focus of the work is the Great Strike of 1900-03, a bid by the men of Penrhyn Quarry to improve their working conditions.

“Walker and Bromwich have worked with individuals, schools and community groups in the quarry town of Bethesda to develop this sculptural work. This sculpture was the focal point of a symbolic event that paid tribute to the local community, which staged the longest strike in British industrial history.

“On 1 July 2017 the Penrhyn Choir processed this sculpture from Bethesda into the Grand Hall. During this performance the original demands of the Great Strike, combined with demands of today, were sung by the choir: colliding in time two points in history where working conditions have been at the forefront of social change.”

– Sara Roberts, Curator

Further Reading

Penrhyn Castle;
Great Strike;
Penrhyn Quarry;
More posts in the Penrhyn Castle Series

Slate or State

Slate or State

Air supply

Slate or State

Slate or State

Slate or State

Slate or State

Slate or State

14 thoughts on “Slate or State, Penrhyn Castle

  1. Given the curator’s notes I am sure visitors might be able to draw on the symbolism present. Once it has had its turn at winning over the public, I imagine it would make an excellent installation at a pre-school. Little girls and boys would love to delve into that shaft in the middle. You can tell that such sculptures are not up my street, although I enjoy your views of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is probably one of those artworks that needs to be seen in the flesh (so to speak) and contemplated at length to be fully appreciated. That’s not to take anything away from the photos of course!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Andy! Whilst not wishing to comment on its artistic merit, I can say that I did enjoy visually exploring its nooks and crannies looking to see how it interacted with the ambient light.


  3. Ik like these ‘strange’ object in unusual settings. It makes everything questionable. Wich I suppose can be one of the goals of art in general and perhaps this piece of art in particular. So the colour is dark grey? Because that was what I was wondering, the colour of the thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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