Culture& collaborates with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Cardiff on Reframing Picton which is now open to the public

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The image shows three abstract pictures with identical composition, which has a white and red fugure in the centre juxtaposed against different backgrounds of corps and landscapes..

Culture& has contributed to the Reframing Picton exhibition which opened to the public on 1 August at National Museum Cardiff – Amgueddfa Cymru. Culture& was appointed as a consultant to advise on the reinterpretation of a controversial life-size portrait of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton, by Sir Martin Archer Shee (circa 1812) which hung in the Museum’s Faces of Wales Gallery for 100 years.

Picton was a Welsh officer of the British Army who fought in the Napoleonic Wars and the highest-ranking officer to be killed during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Culture&’s consultancy focused on challenging the existing colonial narrative around the portrait and exploring Picton as a controversial figure, previously hailed as a public hero. Picton is notorious for his cruel treatment of Black enslaved and free people, and for sanctioning judicial torture during his governorship of Trinidad in the late eighteenth century.

The painting was taken down from the Faces of Wales Gallery late last year while Culture& facilitated a series of workshops with the Museum’s Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel (SSAP) Youth Leadership Network to agree a curatorial strategy on how the portrait would be reinterpreted.

Culture& worked with young people on the Advisory Panel to explore different ways to approach the reinterpretation of this artwork and its reinstallation. This included how the portrait would be rehung and the display of objects alongside the painting, such as anti-slavery medallions produced in the late 18th century, along with contemporary artworks.

The painting is now back on display and accompanied by two new contemporary artworks by artists with Trinidadian heritage – Gesiye and Laku Neg. The new works explore narratives of historical memory, ancestry, healing and redemption through which the artists challenge the colonial viewpoint that once framed the painting in National Museum Wales galleries at Cardiff.

Culture&’s Board of Trustees Chair Miranda Lowe CBE said: “The Board of trustees very much supports new ways of working collaboratively in the heritage sector. This amazing project is a powerful and shining example of Culture& and the museum’s holistic approach to reimagining museum spaces and reuniting excluded past narratives. Such inclusive ways of working empower the young cultural leaders of the future, allowing us all to move forward together on such important issues contained within this exhibition.”

Culture&’s Artistic Director and CEO Dr Errol Francis said: “We are delighted to have worked with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Cardiff on this important project. We congratulate the Museum on this bold and innovative exhibition. We believe this kind of collaboration is a model for the future and how we can work together to reinterpret our national heritage to address the omissions of the past.”

About Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Cardiff

Amgueddfa Cymru belongs to everyone and is here for everyone to use. We are a charity and a family of seven national museums and a collections centre, located across the country. Our aim is to inspire everyone through Wales’ story, at our museums, in communities and digitally. Our welcome is free thanks to funding from the Welsh Government and extends to people from all communities. Play your part in Wales’ story: by visiting, volunteering, by joining, by donating. Youth led projects across the museum are part of the Hands on Heritage initiative, made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Kick the Dust Grant.

Press contact

Samuel Pontin, Culture& Programme Manager –

Image: ‘Spirited’, Laku Neg, 2022.

Installation view – photography by Dr Errol Francis