Gallery - living-language-land



2022     12x12" shadow box

Morfa: a place of, near or shaped by the sea

  • Language: Welsh
  • Region: Wales, UK
In the standard historical Welsh Dictionary the word ‘morfa’ is defined as a low lying wetland (usually by the sea) that is periodically inundated by water. A ‘[sea] marsh, salt marsh, fen, moor’. The dictionary notes that the word ‘morfa’ has also been used in the past for land that can become flooded along inland rivers – but only in one part of south Wales. The word ‘morfa’ literally means ‘a place of, near or shaped by the sea’.

A high-water fringe of tangled seaweed, crab carapaces, soggy seed heads and wispy plant stems, fishing nets, sea-chewed rubber balls, plastic shards and lost shoes. And the birds: always watching, waiting and following the tide as it silently fills and then empties the marshland – until the creeks become mud-reeking bobsleigh runs. Slick and treacherous. In-between places. Fickle and fascinating. So still, somehow – yet forever on the move.

For this image I chose an imaginary interpretation of an aerial view of such a place, where the tide is washing back, leaving a labyrinth of pools and rivulets. The white dots represent sea birds, like the endangered Lapwing so well loved for its distinct cry.

For the full description, along with pronunciation, map and video, click HERE.