Coleg Sir Gar Marketing.
Sarah Hopkins, curriculum head of creative industries at Coleg Sir Gâr is exhibiting work at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The practicing artist, who has been a printmaker for 30 years, was asked to produce a portrait in response to the gallery’s Picasso Portraits exhibition.
Commonly regarded as unsightly, urban environments and industrial landscapes are more familiar settings in Sarah Hopkins’s prints where she challenges the ways these landscapes are perceived. With a strong family heritage connected to the South Wales steel industry, her response to the gallery’s project was a series of small prints which pay homage to her late father Peter, who spent his lifetime working at the British Steel Corporation in Port Talbot.
The portrait had to be influenced by Picasso as it will be displayed alongside the artist’s exhibition in London. The portrait of Peter Hopkins responds well to the brief as it is inspired by Picasso’s sheet-iron portraits with a series of cut-out monotypes of her father. Drawn to the materials and processes used by Picasso, her portrait captures and celebrates her industrial heritage and Peter’s connection to the industry.
Sarah Hopkins said: “I wanted to create a sense of person and a piece of work that was very much about my father as well as building in a transparency to allow people to read behind the image.”
The steelworks played a significant part of Sarah’s childhood. “I have fond memories of attending special events for families of staff at the steelworks and remember feeling a very strong sense of community,” she said.
For the last three years, Sarah has been working collaboratively on The Power Project with multi-media artist Tracey Moberly and musician Martyn Ware, founder of bands The Human League and Heaven 17. All three artists have family connections to the steel industry; in Port Talbot, Llanwern and Sheffield and are producing a collection of work based on the industry.
Sarah’s work will be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery’s Late Shift Extra event on 20 January. Curated by Martyn Ware, the event includes a celebratory performed by well-known actors, dancers, musicians and poets. She also leads Coleg Sir Gâr’s National Art and Design Saturday Club for schoolchildren, heads creative industries courses at the college as well public services, travel and tourism and sport