Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R)

C3R and the New Art Exchange unveil Nottingham's first black history mural

New Art Exchange mural

The new mural, Pathways, depicts Nottingham’s diverse histories and imagines its futures

In 2016, a humdrum brick wall in Hyson Green, Nottingham, was transformed into a vibrant and inspiring public art mural celebrating Nottingham's black history and imagining community futures. It was unveiled during a special event on  June 17, marking an important moment in local history.

The mural has been created by and for local residents in Hyson Green, expressing their ideas and aspirations. The project was collaboratively developed by The Centre for Research in Race and Rights and our community partner, New Art Exchange (NAE), the UK’s largest culturally diverse arts space. Freelance Community Engagement Consultant Boseda Olawoye explains the significance of creating a mural in Hyson Green:

“Hyson Green is one of the most culturally rich areas of Nottingham and this public mural will focus on the Black Histories of the local area and acknowledging those who have played an important role within our society. For the project it was important that the young people had a sense of ownership for the design of the mural.  This will be a permanent piece of public art for the participants, their friends, family and local community to enjoy and be inspired.”

At the heart of the project was NG7 Voices - a youth forum set up by Hyson Green Youth Club, neighbouring the mural wall. Led by Maxine Davis, the forum aims to empower young people (aged 14-25) to make positive change in their community. The young people found inspiration for the mural through a series of talks and workshop sessions where they could share their ideas. The finished design includes George Africanus, Louise Garvey, Winston Murphy and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The brand new mural explores ideas of utopia and community activism. It is the creation of artists Tim Weeden, Nottingham, and Andrew Wright, Derby.  Tim worked closely with young people, nurturing their creativity and incorporating all their ideas into the finished design. The young people have named the mural “Pathways.” Tim explained his creative process in the mural:

“I’m merely the paintbrush, and not the painter. The enthusiasm of the young people was key to the mural. Art is a great medium to explore issues of community identity.”

The young people themselves commented:

“To be a part of something like this makes me proud of the community I come from – it shows we all did something to contribute to the community.”

Professor Zoe Trodd, co-director of C3R, commented at the launch:

“Nottingham celebrates its history as one of rebellion –from Robin Hood, the Luddite rebellion and the Chartist movement to the rebel writers Lord Byron, DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe. Murals are the quintessentially rebellious art form. But until now, there was no colourful community mural narrating the rebel city. C3R is privileged to have been part of creating this important work of art. I particularly like the way the mural represents the new Black Lives Matter movement, acknowledging that Nottingham is home to Europe’s first official Black Lives Matter chapter – something of which the city should be very proud.”

Skinder Hundal, Chief Executive of New Art Exchange, described the importance of the mural at the launch:

“Our new mural beautifies, educates, celebrates and symbolises the diversity and cultural memory and contribution in our neighbourhood, and affirms the importance of community-building. It welcomes all, and represents the things that matter in Nottingham’s Global Quarter, Hyson Green - a culturally rich and vibrant place, home to many black and diverse communities. The mural continues NAE’s core mission to champion marginalised voice, and to use art as a way of exploring who we are, why we are here and where we are going, capturing the value of diversity in both art and society.”

Hyson Green’s newest masterpiece was formally unveiled by Councillor Graham Chapman.

You can read more about the whole project, see photographs of the mural and watch our short film at the project archive.

Posted on Wednesday 22nd June 2016

Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R)

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD