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Tigers Bay Young People ‘Change’ the Face of the Community through Re-Imaging Project

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 at 4pm 0 Comments

A new artwork reflecting the identity and aspirations of people in the North Belfast community of Tigers Bay has been unveiled as part of a re-imaging project.

Funded by the Re-imaging Communities Consortium, led by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Tigers Bay Concerned Residents Association has been working in partnership with Groundwork Northern Ireland to roll out the project, which consists of three pieces of art that will replace paramilitary murals. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Loughview Community Action Partnership have also contributed to the removal of sectarian graffiti and markings in the area.

The first phase of the project will be launched on Friday 27th November. The project has seen young people from Mountcollyer Youth Club and children from Currie Primary School actively working with renowned artist Ross Wilson in designing and creating two pieces of vibrant wall mounted art with an overall emphasis on ‘change’ in the community.

P7 pupils worked on developing an image of a Tiger alongside the words ‘Community, Culture, Pride’, which can be prominently seen on the North Queen Street route into Belfast City Centre.

Local teenagers decided to acknowledge the influence of women and how they have inspired and affected change in the area, and assisted the artist by painting the mural named ‘Mother, Sister, Daughter’ onto boards that will be placed at the heart of Tigers Bay in Upper Mervue Street.

Re-Imaging Tigers Bay is transforming the community through the removal of several paramilitary murals and sectarian graffiti. The Tigers Bay community has over the past 2 years been undertaking a process of transformation, moving away from the past and creating a more positive environment for its residents.

Commenting on the project, Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Chair of the Shared Communities Consortium, said: “Here in Tiger’s Bay we can see how the local community have been able to work together with artist Ross Wilson to create something they can truly be proud of.

“The Arts Council’s Re-imaging Communities Programme helps to unlock the creative potential of local people at a neighbourhood level. Today in North Belfast, we can clearly see the benefits of this community-led approach. Working with a professional artist, they have developed the confidence to transform their area into a much more welcoming environment for visitors and residents.”
“The young people of Tigers Bay were some of the most innovative and creative that I have worked with to date. They had a real sense of a ‘new future’ and an insight into how they could be part of this future. Through this project they were able to make their thoughts known and their voices heard.” Artist: Ross Wilson

Leeanne Marshall from Tigers Bay Concerned Residents said:
“The wall mounted artwork will transform the face of Tigers Bay. The young people along with Ross Wilson have really captured the identity of the community and the process of change that is underway. We hope that people visiting, or travelling through the area will recognise the positive changes that are happening, and feel welcomed and inspired by the artwork”

“The completion of the first phase of the Re-imaging project marks an important milestone for the residents of Tigers Bay and the young people involved. Significant work and progress has been made in the regeneration of the community, and Groundwork NI has worked closely with the community on several physical and social projects in recent years. The new artwork will undoubtedly have a positive and uplifting effect and will compliment other improvements that have already been made. This project had embodied Groundwork’s ethos of Changing Places, Changing Lives, Changing Minds.” Sylvia Gordon (Director Groundwork NI)

The Re-imaging Communities Programme is funded through the Shared Communities Consortium, led by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and includes the partners OFMDFM, DSD, DCAL, Community Relations Council, PSNI, SOLACE (Society of Local Authority and Chief Executives), International Fund for Ireland and NI Housing Executive.

The second phase of the Tigers Bay Re-imaging project will involve the wider community and residents, who will work with Ross Wilson on concepts for a bronze sculpture and enchanted garden. Phase two will be completed early next year.

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