In 2015 I was asked by RSPB’s Phil Burkard to paint a mural as part of a partnership bid with Cardiff Council to transform the Millenium Walkway into a shared space with public artwork and spaces filled with wild flowers. The bid to Kew Gardens was unsuccessful, but I have continued to work hard to transform the area anyway, into a space which is filled with public artwork, and used for community events.
Community has always been important to me and I am active in my local area, leading and supporting projects and activities to encourage inclusion and interaction. I love bringing people together – for an international Bboy event, a Graffiti jam, for a small community meeting or a knitting group. Knitting and Graffiti may not appear to have anything in common but our ‘Pins & Needles’ group in Tongwynlais has the same collaborative way of working as a paint jam where graffiti artists come together. The creative things we do together are important to our mental health and wellbeing, and the wellbeing of society. Some people are more fragile than others, and we support one another to learn and grow through creating.
Graffiti is an art-form that isn’t widely understood, and although Banksy has been instrumental in bringing street-art into the public consciousness, he is not a graffiti artist. Graffiti is about lettering – putting your name on the wall so that people can no longer ignore you, your culture and your way of life. A way of life that doesn’t necessarily fit into the clean, consumer lifestyle that we are encouraged to buy into yet can rarely afford.
I set up a petition out of frustration at the lack of inclusion from Cardiff Council in discussions that are happening about selling off the Walkway for advertising. We had spoken about possibilities for utilising graffiti artist’s skills, like we did for the Rugby World Cup where each artist did a piece in the flag colours of one of the teams, but these discussions have come to nothing. Thank you so much to everyone who has signed the petition, and for all the wonderful, diverse and heartfelt comments that you’ve made.
I’m pleased to say that I’ve been invited to a meeting with the Council on Friday afternoon – I’m taking Keiron from Oner Signs, Dan from Grassroots and Councillor Sarah Merry to back me up. I’ll let you know how it goes…
Video of 2016 International Women’s Day paint jam here