Cerith Wyn Evans memorably announced Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice in 2003, throwing a searchlight up into the night sky from the location of the Guidecca, where Wales presented four successive Biennales.
In 2011 we relocated to the historic Santa Maria Ausiliatrice (Ludoteca) in the Castello area, centrally positioned between the Giardini and the Arsenale. Here the exhibition from Wales attracted 3,298 visitors during the preview week alone and a record 30,000 visitors across the six month exhibition period.
Wales' presence at the Biennale gives a platform for visual art from Wales on the world’s most prestigious international stage. Benefits and opportunities are reflected back into Wales through the strategic commissioning of Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice exhibition and related programmes; including Invigilator Plus, Travel Bursaries provided by Wales Arts International, educational resources as well as talks, events, links, and where appropriate, a re-staging of the exhibition produced for the Biennale back in Wales.
The Venice Biennale is critically important for the profile, reputation and future careers of artists selected to represent Wales and for the image of Wales as a country that seeks to promote its contemporary culture worldwide, distinguishing Wales' cultural profile with high quality art. The exhibition from Wales is commissioned and managed by Arts Council of Wales with support of grant in aid from the Welsh Government.
The partnership between the Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Government is an excellent example of how we work closely to achieve our vision of Wales as a culturally vibrant nation. In a devolved Wales and at a time of great economic constraint, it is vital that the country’s creativity continues to register on the world stage.