17-Year-Old Artist Makenzy Takes On The World In New Exhibition

Blackwater Gallery is excited to announce that the talented 17-year-old artist, Makenzy Beard, is returning to the prestigious Cardiff Bay venue for her brand-new collection from 12th April to 3rd May 2024.

Since her first solo exhibition in September 2022, Makenzy, from Swansea, has embraced and expanded on her natural talent. Her first exhibition was a direct result of the pandemic. When she was 14 Makenzy represented Wales in under-16’s hockey, but due to lockdown restrictions, she was unable to take part in her favourite sport. Instead, she looked for something else to do and tried her hand at painting in her mother’s studio. This led to her discovering her natural talent.

Makenzy’s portraits are particularly influenced by her travels around the globe with her family. One such painting is ‘Raft Boy’, which features a young boy in the water from an image she took while travelling in the Philippines.

After her acclaimed exhibition at Blackwater Gallery, she continued painting, and is now embarking on her second collection, ‘Painted in Pyjamas’. This time around though her life has changed quite a bit. She’s started full-time boarding at a sixth-form college, and is balancing a schedule of A-levels, hockey and drama.

Despite this, she believes that painting has helped her through this change in her life. She says: “I’ll admit that my world has spun on its axis the last few months, and being able to turn to canvas has really helped me find stillness amongst the chaos. I think that when I paint, I get lost in the strokes and lose awareness of everything else that goes on in the world.”

Makenzy’s latest body of work has been highly experimental. She has recently transitioned from acrylic to oil, and while her subject matter has remained relatively consistent, there’s great variation in the colouration, composition and style of her paintings. The new collection will be a body of 10 pieces she has been working on since her last solo show.

With all her extra-curricular activities, finding time to paint hasn’t been easy, but Makenzy is so pleased that she has stuck with it. She continues: “Achieving a sense of timelessness feels like a superpower. Something I used to be able to do. Now I have to be in bed before ten, train during lunch breaks, and avoid waking my roommate up early. I really miss painting until midnight, but despite this, I’m incredibly proud of the body of work I’ve created.”

Blackwater Gallery is the only place in Cardiff where fine art enthusiasts can view a collection of high-end original artwork, sculptures and photography. With views looking over Cardiff Bay and Marina, the name Blackwater is a tribute to Wales’ largest port.

Founder, Jamie Aherne, feels that Blackwater’s mission to find and nurture emerging talent since it opened in 2019 has really paid dividends. He says: “Makenzy’s talent is boundless. She’s achieved so much and I feel proud to have been instrumental in helping her achieve her goals. The anticipation of the forthcoming exhibition has already created enquiries from around the world. Her work is inspirational and I would encourage everyone to come and see it. I believe, that Makenzy Beard will become known as one of the greatest Welsh portraiture artists of our time, to be able to showcase her new collection at Blackwater Gallery is truly humbling.”

The full collection will be released and available for purchase at 12pm on Friday 5 th April 2024. Tickets will be available through Eventbrite (free).

Blackwater Gallery, Pendeen House, Prospect Place, Cardiff, CF11 0AW