A new mural depicting well-known and respected sporting, literary and artistic Northern Ireland figures was officially unveiled to the public yesterday — replacing a paramilitary mural.
The former UVF wall at the junction of Alliance Parade and Alliance Road in the Glenbryn estate was repainted as part of the joint Arts Council and Belfast City Council Re-imaging Communities Programme.
Renowned Italian artist Daniela Balmaverde worked closely with the local community to devise the new mural which features boxers Wayne McCullough and Rinty Monaghan, Sir James Galway, writer Sam McAughtry, Dame Mary Peters, footballer George Best and Belfast folk hero ‘Buck’ Alec Robinson, who used to walk around the city in the 1930s with a pet lion on a chain. It also features well-known city landmarks such as Cavehill and the Albert Clock.
Jim Potts from the Upper Ardoyne Community Empowerment Partnership, who helped to co-ordinate the project, said: “I am delighted with the outcome of the finished mural and hope that some of our older residents will take pleasure in the memories that it evokes.”
The Glenbryn project is the fifth re-imaging scheme in Belfast to be completed. Six other projects are due to be completed by the end of September. Recently a ceramic mosaics project on one of the city’s first peace walls at Bryson Street in the Short Strand was unveiled, and a new mural, inspired by Tom Kerr’s poem The Sky, in Conway Street was also completed.
In the lower Shankill, 10 new images have been painted over former paramilitary ones and a new mural in Donegall Pass commemorating the Battle of the Somme has also been unveiled in the past month or so.
Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long described the Glenbryn estate project as “a symbol of communities moving towards a peaceful and brighter future, not forgetting the past but looking forward”.
“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,” said Ms Long.