Zillah Bowes

Portrait of Zillah Bowes

Zillah Bowes is a Welsh/English filmmaker, photographer and writer. She trained at the National Film and Television School (NFTS), where she was awarded the Kodak Scholarship. Work from her solo photo exhibition Green Dark, funded by the Arts Council of Wales, showed in the RA Summer Exhibition 2020. A preview was shown in Many Voices, One Nation, curated by Ffotogallery and the Welsh Parliament. Her lockdown photo series Allowed won two Honorable Mentions in the International Photo Awards 2020 and was shortlisted for the Alpine Fellowship Visual Art Prize 2021.

Zillah’s film Staying (Aros Mae), funded by Ffilm Cymru Wales/BFI NETWORK and BBC Wales, won the Grand Jury Prize at Premiers Plans Angers Film Festival 2021 and has screened internationally including Palm Springs ShortFest. She won a John Brabourne Award from the Film and TV Charity in 2020 and Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales in 2017. She has made documentaries and music videos which have shown worldwide and collaborated with Turner prize-winning artist Martin Creed. For her poetry, she has won the Wordsworth Trust Prize, Poems on the Buses Competition and Literature Matters Award from the Royal Society of Literature.


Many Voices, One Nation

For ‘Many Voices, One Nation’, Bowes has produced a series of portraits in moonlight of a hill farming community in Radnorshire. The tenant farmers of the Elan Estate in the Elan and Claerwen Valleys keep sheep on the open hill, which they gather with their neighbours, often on horseback, forming a close community and passing down a traditional way of life.
Brexit, and economic and environmental concerns including climate crisis, create uncertainty for the future upland farmer in Wales. The members of this community just starting their lives as farmers are embracing continuity. Significantly, there are several young women in the new generation. Using moonlight as her sole light source, Bowes explores this liminality, placing people in the land where they are the current and historic custodians.

Locally, people are known by their first name followed by the name of their farm.