Owen Griffiths with the help of many people created a structure in a single day. Inspired by the folklore of the of ty unnos and shaped by conversations and collaboration of the communities who live and work in and around the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
In Wales there is a tradition of ty unnos (one-night house) which dates back several hundred years and suggests that if you were able to build a house on common land, with a fire smoking out from the chimney, the land was then rightfully yours. The idea of a one-night house appears throughout the world, mostly as folklore but sometimes in customary and even statutory law. In the spirit of ty unnos, in particular how the urgency can create material limitations and the need for community involvement. On the 16 December 2017 Owen created a temporary structure, shaped by conversations and collaboration of the communities who live and work in and around the Botanic Gardens. The space is now available for the use of people within the garden’s nationally significant art collection and will be used to house a local Forest School.
Owen Griffiths is a young social practice artist working with sites and communities, responding to architecture, people and place. His work addresses the disconnection between community, our local environments and the forces and ideals that maintain our experiences of the everyday. He is currently the Cultural Ambassador of Walesand is emerging as one of the most important artists of this generation. With Common Ground, Owen created a public performance and vernacular structure in collaboration with over 60 volunteers, staff and visitors of the National Botanic Garden of Wales. By weaving local tree stories and timber materials into his residency with Common Ground for the Woodland Trust, the project explores contemporary political issues of land and sustainability through the relationship between the trees and people in the Carmarthenshire landscape.
Above: Owen Griffiths’s first working drawings for Tÿ Unnos, watercolour on paper, June 2017.