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Twelve artworks (including the Cover) were commissioned for each Chapter of the Book: "How black was my valley" by author Brad Evans. This is his semi-biographical history of life growing up in a former mining community in the South Wales and it will be published with Repeater/Penguin Random House on April 2024. 



23 March 2024 - 11 May 2024

Born in Tecali de Herrera in Mexico, Chantal has been living and working in the United Kingdom for the past 5 years. During this time, she spent several months living in the Rhondda valleys, which became the inspiration for this series of works. As the artist noted, “while living thousands of miles away from my hometown in Mexico, I felt a strange kind of affinity, which I couldn’t really put into words. The peoples of the valleys are similar in so many ways to the peoples of Mexico. They know hardship. They know suffering. They know the weight of history. And they share a deep relationship with tragedy. But they also know the importance of dignity. So like I often feel when I am in Mexico, those communities in the mountains brought me closer to the tensions within art that reveal to us the darkness people endure, but also the passionate fire within. I have tried to do justice to this with the series, which I hope speaks to something the valleys touched within me”.


How Black Was My Valley is a people’s history of the former mining communities of South Wales.

Weaving together the personal with the political, it offers a damning depiction of the hardship and suffering, the tragedy and pain, as a politically abandoned people went from powering the British Empire and the Great Wars, to a broken post-industrial community, lost in time.

It travels with devastating and yet humane insight across the dark shadows of the valley’s history. In doing so, it deals with disaster and resistance; memory and landscapes of despair; the brutal past and the neglected present; hardship and poverty; unemployment and isolation; lack of opportunity and the normalisation of hopelessness; death and suffering; structural violence and everyday subjugation; onto the crises of white male subjectivity and the exponential rise in drug abuse and personal suicide, whose troubling effects can no longer be easily contained within its mountainous walls.

This is not a story of resilience. Instead, readers are taken on a journey into an open wound, whose once silent screams can no longer be ignored.

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