Gwawr / Dawn

Dates: 24 February – 19 April

Location: Senedd 


Gwawr / Dawn is a digital artwork created by artist Zillah Bowes for the Official Opening of the Sixth Senedd in 2021. It features photographs of people from all over Wales, along with landscapes, taken outside before and after sunrise.

Zillah Bowes is a multidisciplinary artist, creating works in film, photography and poetry. Her work has been shown worldwide in many ways including cinema, TV, online and galleries.

View Gwawr / Dawn >

The people photographed in the artwork were each asked by the artist to describe their early morning routine or ritual, and how they experience the change of dawn. 

‘When I’m coming home after a night shift, I’m absolutely tired but often the sun has just come up. I started working in a care home just after I finished my masters in drama. There were no jobs as the theatres were closed because of the pandemic. I didn’t want to just sit at home so I thought not only I’ll be able to give to society by working in a care home but also I’ll be able to save a little bit of money to create my performances and put them out there. So now I really notice the sunrise.’

Amanda, Care Home Worker & Performance Artist, Aberystwyth



‘There’s something about being in the water first thing in the morning - being immersed in water and seeing the sun rise is incredibly special. I’ve been a sea swimmer for 10-15 years. I started taking my daughter swimming before school and got comfortable with getting up very early. I started noticing things at that time of day you don’t notice later on when people are about - the light, the sunrises, the quiet, the bird song. Now if I have a choice about when I swim, it’ll always be at dawn.’

Keri, Outdoor Swimmer, Penarth



‘After a night shift I get up before everyone else and if it’s a nice morning, I’ll stand outside, even if it’s just to have a coffee on my own. When the sun’s coming up, you can feel people’s mood change. I’ve been on jobs where we’ve been firefighting all night and towards the end of the incident, as it’s getting light and we’re having a coffee, you can feel people know that the working part is over. Some of my best memories are at sunrise when we’ve been out all night.’

Tommy, Fire and Rescue Watch Manager, Duffryn, Newport



‘A good surf in the morning sets you up for the day. When you first get up, everyone’s asleep and it’s quiet – it’s a good start to the day. I’ve been surfing for about 30 years now. I’m originally from Pembrokeshire where I learnt to surf. I’ve always been an early riser and it goes hand in hand with surfing because I like surfing without the crowds - the earlier you go the less people you compete with for waves. It sets you up then if you’ve got a busy day at work or with anything you have to do.’

Henry, Surfer, Sker Beach, Porthcawl



‘I get up early and go out straightaway with the dogs to be back for work. Often we start off in the dark but it’s daylight when we come back, so I can see how the sky changes. It’s really brilliant because I can just walk straight out of the back door, through a bit of forestry and then have views over Cader Idris and Tal-y-llyn. There’s an expanse of open mountains and lakes all round really, and I don’t have to drive anywhere. We very rarely meet anybody else if we’re out at dawn time, so we get the forestry and views to ourselves.’

Marit, Walker, Corris Uchaf, Machynlleth


Artwork by Zillah Bowes © 2021