The Road to New York is the name of a muddy cart track leading to the abandoned village of Pennsylvania near St. Davids, Pembrokeshire. Idyllic countryside and wild seas are the backdrop for this hamlet of four or five terraced cottages which have lain empty since the early 20th century. The Quakers left by this path to find Y Baradwys Bell (The Far Paradise) where they sought a society of equals (y gymdeithas gyfartal), free from persecution and impoverishment.
Today this coastal region of South West Wales is an unspoiled corner of the country strewn with remnants of its past. It has also become a panacea for city dwellers seeking outdoor pursuits and a means of escape to a simpler, more grounded life. The modern holidaymakers, searching for a wild and real experience, arrive en convoy with their plastic vessels.
The relics left by the Quakers of Pennsylvania, and the tourists who come to the area seeking sanctuary today could be read as signs of a common search for ‘the far paradise’.
For two years Ben has obsessively collected drift plastic, beachcombing enough lighters to build his flying kayak in response to the migration habits of these people.
Ben’s extensive research behind this exhibition will be developed and displayed during his artist residency at Oriel y Parc, St Davids, from 10 August to 17 September 2015.
This project is supported by the Arts Council of Wales.