Simon Whitehead

Simon Whitehead is …

Ask …

… which is a socially engaged artwork based on the ideas of Chilean ecological economist Manfred Max-Neef, who has identified nine Fundamental Human Needs, the fulfilment of which he theorises also has a broader beneficial effect on the planet.

RhysReeceRhys, an artistic collaboration, are asking the people of Wales what needs they feel they lack in their lives. “Ask the Wall” canvassed needs in a rural area with participants being asked to press their selected need/s into the walls of a half-built strawbale house in Blaenffos near Cardigan.


“Ask the Road” used the mechanism of a polling booth and ballot box sited in the front garden of a house in Ninian Road, Cardiff as part of Rhôd in Roath/Made in Roath. Over two days 140 ballot papers were returned, the comparative results reflecting the differing needs of these urban and rural ballots are shown below.

Visit Rhôd website



“Ask the Club” engaged with the community of Port Talbot as part of the exhibition ‘Welcome to Tataland’, held in The Royal British Legion Club on the 17th of November 2016.


RhysReeceRees plan to tour the work across Wales in different iterations to gain a broader view of peoples needs and these will be compared and analysed and will inform and guide the artwork as it develops.

RhysReeceRees has been conceived as an open and collaborative project and would welcome involvement from interested parties from a range of disciplines who might contribute in ways unforseen.

Interview with Manfred Max-Neef

Background information:

Debbie Rees and Julian McKenny set up Blaenffos Permaculture Market Garden in 2009. Both are trained artists and created the umbrella project Vegetable Agenda (Where Art & Vegetables Meet) to encourage artists to engage with the working landscape, the environment and sustainable living. Residencies at the market garden, combining growing and art practice are offered and in July 2016 the work of fifteen international artists was exhibited in and around the half-built strawbale house on the theme of Basic Human Needs.