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Terry Bradley and Carl Frampton knocked out by former prisoner’s boxing star paintings

Pieces created by a former prisoner show how painting can transform lives, the renowned artist Terry Bradley has said.

Inspired by her famous namesake, Rosie Bradley has been producing paintings of the likes of Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and fellow Irishwoman Katie Taylor for the Building Bridges Community Boxing Club in north Belfast.

She said art and the club had been her therapy since being released from Hydebank last year.

While the two Bradleys are not related to each other, Shankill Road-born Terry believes the Dublin woman is testament to how painting can be used “to express emotions and spark conversations that wouldn’t otherwise be brought up”.

“It is the same way that I use art, so I am happy that she has been able to use my artwork as inspiration,” he said.

Rosie told the Belfast Telegraph that while she struggled with many addictions, since being home, she “hasn’t even had a drink”.

“Art would be the main thing that helps me, but the boxing club also has given me so many opportunities, even for when I am ready to go back to work and stuff,” she added.

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Praised: Artist Rosie Bradley

Praised: Artist Rosie Bradley

Praised: Artist Rosie Bradley

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She said a six-week boxing course in prison last year that Carl Frampton and Paddy Barnes helped with gave her the idea of getting involved in the sport.

Former world champion Carl was so in awe of her “unbelievable” talents that he offered to buy her painting of Muhammad Ali.

“I remember Rosie from that wee day I had over at Hydebank. I was invited to give out awards on the last day,” he said.

“What I remember most about it was that she was really into it and inquisitive.

“The people that are in these boxing clubs — the coaches and the volunteers that help run them — they’re salt-of-the-earth people. They’re giving up their time just to help people.

“The clubs are full of people with similar stories to Rosie. They’re not necessarily going to be world champions, but they want a wee bit of direction and discipline in their lives, and boxing can help give them that.

“My old amateur coach, his biggest success stories are the kids who he’s taken off the wrong path. Boxing has kind of got them back in line and sorted them out a bit. There’s thousands and thousands of stories like that in Northern Ireland and across Ireland as a whole.”

Rosie hopes to help young people stay on the straight and narrow through the club.

“I’ve had a really horrible life. I treated myself really badly for nearly 22 years. Most of my life has been in prison,” she said.

“If I can help a kid, even one kid... there’s quite a couple of kids who are notorious on the interface and we have them engaged. It’s fantastic to see them engaged, coming in and taking the lead with the juniors.

“Even though I don’t coach per se, they would talk to me and ask me about my life, so I tell them.

“I’m not really interested in selling my art. It’s more for therapy. Even doing the stuff for the club, it took me a while to decide to do that.

“Hopefully in a few years I will be producing my own stuff. My one original piece is similar to Terry’s work, but it is all my own.”


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