Welsh icons grace the walls of Usk gallery

9:16am Tuesday 4th March 2014

WELSH icons will be gracing the walls of an Usk gallery with an exhibition dedicated to celebrating 'Welshness'.

The Gallery In The Square will feature twenty paintings of famous faces such as Max Boyce, Tom Jones, Dylan Thomas, Michael Sheen and Rhys Ifans.

The proceeds of a painting of Cerys Matthews by artist Bob Bushell will go towards Footsteps for Liv, a campaign set up to help Olivia Robinson, a four-year-old from Crosskeys who has cerebral palsy. The family are hoping to raise £60,000 for her to receive a procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy which could enable her to walk independently.

Max Boyce

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ICON: Michael Sheen, Hollywood actor by artist Mel Burgum

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ART: Rhys Ifans as Spike in the film Notting Hill

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ICONIC VOICE: Tom Jones by Newport artist Andrew Read

Free Press Series: ICONIC VOICE: Tom Jones

David Sansom, 49, gallery owner, said: "We weren't expecting this painting, it's a beautiful painting and it will be terrific to raise a decent amount of money for the charity.

"It was the artists individual choice of who they thought represented Welshness. The rugby icons exhibition last year worked so well, we wanted to do something similar to that - we had a poll on the website to see who people thought are the icons which embody Welshness.

"There are a few obvious choices which didn't make it into the gallery such as Shirley Bassey and Aneurin Bevan. It's an interesting exhibition and fitted into St David's Day celebrations."

Elin Sian Blake who painted Max Boyce from life for the exhibition and has previously painted rugby legends Gerald Davies, Scott Quinnell, Alex Cuthbert and Leigh Halfpenny.

Mr Sansom said: "Most of them were painted from photographs but Max Boyce was painted from life by Elin. Last year's exhibition was just the work of one artist but this year with seven artists there was a complete mix of styles. "There are oil paintings, water colours, pastels and acrylics."

Other Welsh icons included in the exhibition are Sir Anthony Hopkins, Katherine Jenkins, Charlotte Church and Tich Gwilym, a rock guitarist from the 80's. The artists will be at the gallery on Twyn Square tomorrow for the opening of the exhibition from 6pm to 8pm which will also be televised on the S4C programme 'Heno'.

The exhibition will be running until April 5. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/footsteps-for-liv

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