Exhibition / 1 Oct – 31 Oct 2021

Welsh from Everywhere

Rhys Webber

Welsh from Everywhere
© Rhys Webber

My Welsh from Everywhere project was inspired by a line in a poem entitled 'Maindee' by Susan Lewis which featured in an exhibition called Maindee Stories by artist Marion Cheung working a multicultural group of women who meet at Community House.

The line goes 'It will be, What we make it. Us, together. Welsh from everywhere'. Susan's poem highlights the amazing cultural diversity of the Maindee area of Newport, where the local school boasts 30 first languages spoken by its families at home. Whatever someone's cultural heritage, as residents of this little corner of Wales, they are welcomed as 'Welsh from Everywhere'.

I was offered the opportunity to set up a studio at several events in Community House - a building at the heart of multicultural Maindee - and offer portraits for all who were interested.

In a few sessions I've met, listened to stories from, and photographed people from over 30 countries across the world from Jamaica to Romania, Mauritius to Bangladesh. These photos show a new Wales, a Wales where multiculturalism enhances the land of my fathers.

About Artist

Portrait of Rhys Webber

Rhys Webber

Rhys grew up in Newport spending his youth photographing friends, and spending pocket money on film, paper and chemicals. After graduating with a degree in Photography and Film, University of Westminster, he had a dual career of freelancing in design and photography whilst teaching at colleges and Universities in London.

On returning to Newport in 2004, Rhys established both Webber Design and Webber Photo, working for local, national and international clients - photographing anything that clients would pay him for (except weddings).

He started his long term project 'Newportraits' in 2009 with the aim of documenting the people of Newport in all their glorious diversity. After returning to a 'depressed' Newport which seemed to believe in its own bad press, the project was an attempt to show the people of the city in a positive light... the way he sees the community, and the potential of the people who live there.

Most of the portraits have been taken at events like Maindee Festival and The Big Splash, where Rhys invited everyone to have their photo taken - shooting up to 100 portraits a session. Many of the portraits are from Maindee, one of Newport's most ethnically diverse areas - with the local primary boasting 30 different first languages spoken by its communities. Above all Rhys values connecting with the people he photographs, whoever they are and wherever they are from and this shines through in his work.