Issue 17

Heddwch Salem? Astudiaeth o bortread Cliff McLucas o Cynog Dafis (Salem's Peace? A close reading of Cliff McLucas's portrait of Cynog Dafis)

In 1987, the artist Cliff McLucas was working at Ysgol Gyfun Ddwyieithog Dyffryn Teifi on a project titled ‘The Dyfed Media Residency’. As part of his work, he created a series of portraits of teachers and related staff using the technique of photographic collage. Amongst these pictures is a portrait of the school’s English teacher at the time, the politician and Welsh-language activist, Cynog Dafis. I propose a close reading of this portrait that centres on Dafis’ public political career in the context of McLucas’ own life experience. McLucas moved from Scotland to Tregroes, Ceredigion, in 1973. At the same time he learnt Welsh. McLucas’s portrait will be discussed in terms of a self-conscious response to his presence as an incomer in Ceredigion whilst facing a member of the intellectual elite of his host culture. In conclusion, a relationship between McLucas’ portrait of Dafis and Sidney Vosper Curnow’s painting from 1908, ‘Salem’, will be suggested. At the end of the article, a short post-script relates the discussion of McLucas’ portrait of Dafis to contemporary issues of in-migration and out-migration in and from rural areas of Wales.


Identity, learners, incomers, society, culture.


O'Neill, R. (2014), 'Heddwch Salem? Astudiaeth o bortread Cliff McLucas o Cynog Dafis', Gwerddon, 17, 23-40. 

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