Carmarthen was a rough old town. Sailors, coraclemen, wives and prostitutes fought the twelve-strong police force in its streets and lanes. Market days and festivals swelled the town to bursting with labourers, peddlers, drunks. Overseen by corrupt and often intimidated officials, the gaols and courts were full of the casualties of a heavy Friday night, or the results of dark and reckless actions.
Notorious is an exhibition of portraits from this dark past identified from the historical Felon’s Register and other historical sources from Carmarthen’s archives. It reveals a fascinating insight into the criminal activities and social conditions of the poor; a tiny snippet of their lives that has been captured and kept alive forever when most other traces of their existence have vanished.
Through his paintings Anthony Rhys re-creates the lives of these people, making their hidden lives explicit and extending their stories past the official reports.
Today our online presence consists of thousands of personal posts, photographs and comments. What if the only one that survived about you was the worst thing you ever did?