zena blackwell

zena blackwell

Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

About zena blackwell

I am a painter based in Cardiff, Wales, UK. I exhibit regularly and have work in private collections around the World. I completed my MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, London, and my BA at Wimbledon College of Art.

My practice investigates the mad, anxiety-ridden and messy moments of raising children and keeping house. I present playful and colourful paintings that scrutinise the wide-ranging spectrum of emotions experienced in motherhood. My work can be beautiful and humorous but also sinister and menacing, often leaving a heavy feeling of disquiet. My paintings have been described as being ‘psychologically charged'.

I presented my first solo show consisting of over 30 works at Cardiff MADE in November 2018 after winning first prize in the Summer Open Exhibition the year before (for which I secured a £5k Arts Council of Wales Award). The exhibition was included in a weekly list of the top 5 UK exhibitions by a-n magazine and Wales Arts Review included it in a top 10 list of the best Welsh Visual Arts for 2018. I was selected to exhibit at Y Lle Celf at the National Eisteddfod in 2018 (which was held at the Senedd (Welsh National Assembly building), Cardiff Bay) and in 2019 in Llanrwst. I also won 3rd prize at PAINT, an open painting prize at PS Mirabel in Manchester in 2019.

I founded Contemporary Cymru in 2017 and have curated an exhibition 'Household Name' which was due to open in London on March 20th 2020 but has been postponed due to Covid-19. (www.instagram.com/contemporarycymru)


2011 - Masters in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, London

1999 - BA (hons) Fine Art from Wimbledon School of Art


Household Name - POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
(I am curating and in this exhibition featuing 7 women artists. The exhibition was supposed to open in March at The Bomb Factory in London and then travel to Swansea (to Elysium Gallery) in May. Dates tbc.

Paintings included in The London Reader magazine

3rd Prize PAINT at PS Mirabel, Manchester

Axisweb #highlights 15/4

New Interview and photoshoot https://www.irinasilviu.com/together-and-sunspell-stories/zena-blackwell-artist-cardiff April 2019

My solo show 'Seen Not Heard' was chosen by a-n magazine as one of the top 5 UK exhibition to visit on November 13 2018

I was chosen as one of #five2watch by Axisweb on 3.1.19

Wales Arts Review included 'Seen Not Heard' in the top 10 list of the best Welsh Visual Arts for 2018

Online catalogue:

I had a double page feature in the Western Mail newspaper on November 10 2018

Wales Arts Review

I was recently awarded £5,000 of National Lottery funding by the Arts Council of Wales to produce a new body of work for my first solo show at Cardiff MADE this November.

First prize in the Cardiff MADE Summer Open 2017


*Household Name: Group show curated by Contemporary Cymru at:
The Bomb Factory, London (Postponed due to Covid-19, date tbc and Elysium Gallery, Swansea, Postponed from May 2020 to April 2021)

Coming Up For Air - Oriel Canfas, Cardiff (part of BEEP BIennial)

Telling Tales (Three person show with Lara Davies and Rhiannon Davies) - Bay Art, Cardiff

Arcade Studio Exhibition at Arcade Campfa, Cardiff

A View From The Edge 6 :Contemporary Landscape in the Digital Age, Cardiff MADE

Cardiff MADE Winter Show
AGORED19 at Galeri, Caernarfon
Present X Correct showcase by Contemporary Cymru at Corsica Studios, London
Y Lle Celf at The Eisteddfod, Llanrwst
PAINT at PS Mirabel, Manchester (awarded 3rd prize)
Empower Me! at g39, Cardiff
Arcade Studios at Bath Fringe Arts Festival, Bath
Tactile Bosch in Japan, Korea and Taiwan
The Mutterscream: Crepuscular Lush, Jacob’s Market, Cardiff
Viridis: Spring Show at Cardiff MADE

Winter Show: Cardiff MADE
CSAD Auction at g39, Cardiff
Seen Not Heard: Solo Exhibition at Cardiff MADE, Cardiff
Made in Roath Open at g39, Cardiff
Y lle Celf, The Eisteddfod, Senedd, Cardiff
Filia (feminist conference in Manchester. Exhibition traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Ankle Biters at Made in Roath, Cardiff
MADE Summer Open Exhibition, Cardiff, curated by Zoe Gingell (won 1st Prize)

‘Domestic Bliss’ at Made in Roath, Cardiff

‘ArtLabBern’ Switzerland: My Beautiful Son project, Bern, Switzerland
Clit Rock’ My film Pleasure Max was shown at this regular anti-FGM event, London

Central Saint Martins MA Degree show, London
New Pretenders’ Bargehouse, London (Interim MA degree show)

Selected works at The Glass Bar, London
‘Slap & Tickle’ at The Yard Bar, London (curated)
Wimbledon Library group show