A change of image for Shankill murals
Ten paramilitary murals in the Shankill area of Belfast have been replaced with new images of culture and heritage as part of a community make-over.
The new murals, designed to chart the social, cultural and industrial heritage of the lower Shankill, were officially unveiled yesterday following a nine-month project.
Part of the Re-imaging Communities programme, designers used a combination of traditional mural skills and modern digital production techniques in putting the murals together.
Ian McLaughlin, from the Lower Shankill Community Association, said the project was a great success.
“Our community realised it was time to identify with the culture and heritage of our area and also take the opportunity to portray a number of individuals who have contributed greatly to the history and pride of our area,” he said.
Four artists — Lesley Cherry, Tim McCarthy, Ed Reynolds and Steven Tunley — have been working with a range of community groups since last September.
The Lower Shankill Community Association, its human rights group, residents and community workers, initially identified subjects for the new murals before bringing them to fruition.
Lord Mayor of Belfast Naomi Long praised the project.
“This is a prime example of what re-imaging is all about — taking us out of the divisions of the past into a new era of hope and enlightenment, reflecting the heritage of our diverse communities in a positive manner,” she said.
“Our vision is of a Belfast without barriers. The concept of renewal, of change, of respect for cultural identities lies at the heart of the Re-imaging Communities programme, which recognises the importance of creativity in all its manifestations and in all our lives.
“One of the most public representations of that ethos is within the realm of public art which enhances our environment and celebrates our identities.”
The initiative is being funded through the Arts Council, on behalf of the Shared Communities Consortium, which is helping to transform local communities across Northern Ireland by tackling the visible signs of sectarianism and racism and creating a more welcoming environment.