Invigilating for Wales in Venice – week 4 – a reflection

Charlotte Grayland, who has just finished her first year in Fine Art, is one of three CSAD students taking part in the Arts Council of Wales Wales in Venice Invigilator Plus programme, spending a month at the Wales Biennale helping invigilate CSAD Fine Art lecture Sean Edwards’ exhibition at the Wales Pavilion. Here Charlotte reflects on her experience.

 ‘As someone who had never really invigilated an art space before, or visited the Biennale, I was unsure of what to expect whilst working for Wales in Venice invigilating Sean Edwards’ exhibition for the 58th Biennale.

‘I have been amazed to how much the Biennale has the capacity to bring people together in a mutual love for contemporary art. Although the theme of this year’s Biennale is quite sombre, titled “May you live in interesting times”, I have found people to be incredibly optimistic and open towards new ideas and viewpoints.

‘Perhaps the negativity of the work is sparking want of change amongst its audience.

‘Over the course of my time invigilating for Wales in Venice I calculated that in the exhibition space alone I have met 1,648 people from across the world. With many of these people me and my fellow invigilators (Esyllt Lewis, Jenny Cashmore, and Carlota Nobrega) have discussed Welsh culture, traditions, artwork, politics, and everything in between. I have heard people’s stories and have exchanged knowledge and opinions with them. One kind stranger even gave me a free ticket into the Arsenale (and to whoever you are, again, thank you so much).

‘Something that I never expected from invigilating here was having the opportunity to meet so many fellow invigilators from other pavilions. This community fabricated over the shared experience of working in the Biennale is something I have found to be truly unique. The chance to make connections with creatives from all over the globe is one of the things I will treasure most about this experience. Multiple creative opportunities and collaborations have been discussed and developed because of this platform, with external invigilators and also internally within the Wales in Venice invigilating teams. I look forward to these projects materialising.

‘Overall this experience has given me the hope that although as people we seem to be facing stressful times, art still has the ability and capability to join people together and open up pathways for discussion and problem solving.

‘I remain optimistic for the future of art.’