While the World Cup may be kicking off without Wales, thoughts of a remarkable Euro 2016 journey will forever evoke memories of a glorious summer when a generation of football heroes were created.
Now, the likes of Chris Coleman, Gareth Bale and even Wayne Hennessey & Joe Ledley’s ‘bromance’ have been immortalised in a new set of portraits by one of the goalkeepers who was part of the squad in France.
Owain Fôn Williams’ new exhibition ‘Heroes’ goes on show this weekend at Oriel Môn in Llangefni, featuring eleven original works portraying his own memories of being in the Welsh camp.
They include the signature ‘Together Stronger’ canvas marking the moment Wales reached the semi finals after their historic 3-1 victory over Belgium.
But the Penygroes keeper, currently playing with Indy Eleven in the MLS, also pays tribute to his own personal heroes – the quarrymen of North Wales.
The second part of the exhibition reflects the life and times of those who worked in the slate quarries and his interest in the history, heritage and culture brought about by the industry.
Owain said: ”I’ve always felt that I’ve been very fortunate during my professional career as a footballer; the experience of playing at incredible stadiums and visiting some magnificent places, which was a distant dream when growing up in Penygroes.”
”Likewise I’ve also felt fortunate in being able to turn to my artwork; it has been a way of escaping the day to day pressures of life in the footballing world. It’s allowed me to stay connect with my roots in Dyffryn Nantlle and my affection for Welsh identity and our people.”
”The opportunity to exhibit my artwork and collaborate with Oriel Môn is also something very special for me, this is my second exhibition as an artist and it is a real privilege to have been given this opportunity, especially due to my family ties with Amlwch and the island.”
On a more poignant note, ‘Heroes’ also features screenings of a film by one of Owain’s childhood friends, Iwan Huws, who died in January after a fall on Tryfan. The self-made documentary captures the Yucatan drummer’s own experiences as a fan in France during the Euros.
‘Heroes’ (‘Arwyr’) is on display at Oriel Môn from Saturday 16th June to Sunday 5th August 2018.