ABERFAN

At 9:13am on Friday, 16th October, 1966 an immense heap of saturated coal-mining waste avalanched through a primary school, a farm and around 20 houses of the mining village of Aberfan near Merthyr Tydfil. The disaster claimed the lives of 28 adults, and 116 children.

 

The inquiry set up to investigate the circumstances of the disaster concluded:

 

“...the Aberfan Disaster is a terrifying tale of bungling ineptitude by many men charged with tasks for which they were totally unfitted, of failure to heed clear warnings, and of total lack of direction from above. Not villains but decent men, led  astray by foolishness or by ignorance or by both in combination, are responsible for what happened at Aberfan.”

 

Despite this, the inquiry led to neither criminal nor civil prosecutions - not even to a single resignation. The National Coal Board was held liable to pay compensation to the victims’ families, but their initial offer of just £50 per child did much to fuel anger amongst the community.

 

This is, therefore, not just a lost, but a stolen generation.

Below are 116 images of children that have I created as a memorial to those who lost their lives that day. They are not meant to be portraits of individuals, they are simply metaphorical or representational, but each has been individually created with care, sympathy and compassion. Many are almost child-like scribbles, several are highly rendered and a few are liminal, barely there. They are intentionally small-scale, inviting closer inspection.