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Niall McDiarmid – State of Independents

Posted on Nov 19, 2019 by in Current Exhibition, Off Site Exhibition

Colwyn Bay Prom Shelters

7th October - Onwards

Dave, Valentine, Wood & Son, Colwyn Bay - ©Niall McDiarmid

In a new project to coincide with this year's Northern Eye Festival we asked photographer Niall McDiarmid to produce a new set of portraits to shine a light on and celebrate our Independent Traders and Shopkeepers based in and around Colwyn Bay, Old Colwyn and Rhos on Sea.

TWENTY FOUR large scale portraits  displayed in the six prom shelters between Rhos on Sea and Old Colwyn with each shelter exhibiting two portraits on either side, the project links the town together via photography.

Produced by Oriel Colwyn and Northern Eye’s Paul Sampson, State of Independents brings high quality photographic work to the public realm whilst also engaging the local business community.


Pea, The Peculiar Gallery, Rhos on Sea - ©Niall McDiarmid


The exhibition only celebrates a small section of the unique personalities and businesses found within our town. It is hoped that the project will become a catalyst for further engagement with photographers, artists, businesses and the community on a much larger scale.

Displaying high quality work in public spaces is an ethos of both Oriel Colwyn and Northern Eye to successfully break down barriers to artistic and public engagement. 


David & Colette, Kit'n'Heels, Rhos on Sea - ©Niall McDiarmid


Last year Oriel Colwyn produced a similar project with Niall for Llandudno’s seafront shelters. The highly successful Hidden Hospitality concentrated on showcasing the workforce within the town’s hospitality trade and still remains in place today.

Niall McDiarmid

Niall McDiarmid is a Scottish photographer based in London. His work primarily focuses on documenting the people and landscapes of Britain. Recent exhibitions have included British Portraits here at Oriel Colwyn in Colwyn Bay in 2016; Here and Now: London Portraits at the Museum of London in 2017; Town To Town at the Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol in 2018; and Hidden Hospitality across Llandudno’s seafront in 2018.

Niall has published four books: Crossing Paths(2013), Via Vauxhall (2015), Town To Town (2018) and Southwestern (2019). His work is held at The Museum of London, The National Portrait Gallery, The Martin Parr Foundation and the Sir Elton John Photography Collection.

State of Independents was made possible with the support of IMAGINE Colwyn Bay, an exciting project placing culture, creativity and community at the heart of Colwyn Bay’s regeneration. The portraits will remain in place after the festival.

Imagine Colwyn Bay is funded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Great Place scheme, with additional funding from Bay of Colwyn Town Council, Conwy County Borough Council and Colwyn BID.