Belfast Telegraph

Mural a ship off the old block

by Fiona Rutherford

The children of Beechfield Primary School have teamed up with local artist Ross Wilson to create the latest image transforming east Belfast.

The Ship of Dreams mural was unveiled on Thursday, the culmination of months of work, funded by East Belfast Partnership in conjunction with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

This latest artwork dedicated to Titanic and the shipbuilding legacy of east Belfast is the final element of their Re-Imaging Newtownards Road project that saw the successful removal of sectarian imagery at the Short Strand /Newtownards Road interface.

Anne McMurray, chair of the East Belfast Partnership, thanked the Arts Council and the Housing Executive for their support: “This project helps demonstrate a new face for east Belfast and contributes to the social and economic regeneration of the area.”

Short Strand and Inner East groups explored the shared nature of their shipbuilding heritage and their links to Titanic during the project.

Cailin Hardy of the East Belfast Partnership said: “This project was welcomed by the local community as a significant tribute to East Belfast’s rich heritage and it was agreed that the removal of old sectarian imagery was part of the holistic approach to transform the area.”

Roisín McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council NI and Chair of the Shared Communities Consortium, recalled the recent launch of the Bryson Street mural and welcomed this “wonderful new welcome gateway into east Belfast.”

Artist Ross Wilson said his work with the Beechfield Primary children was continuing as they completed their project on the Titanic.

He said the mural was already proving a hit with tourists. “Even when we were building it, the coaches and tourist taxes were stopping and taking pictures. It’s the first thing you see when you go onto the Newtownards Road now.”

Ross says there is a sense of accomplishment with the completion of the mural.

“Apart from being the most famous ship in the world — when the Titanic set sail she was full of people with dreams of setting up in the new world.

“People still have dreams about a brighter future.”

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