Brandywell art project immortalises local sports heroes
Local sporting legends have been artistically immortalised as part of an exciting reimaging project in the Brandywell area.
Facilitated by the EU PEACE III funded Building Relationships in Communities (bric) programme in conjunction with TRIAX Neighbourhood Management Team and the Housing Executive, the visual arts initiative on the Lecky Road has seen a previously graffiti covered wall transformed into a bespoke artwork featuring numerous renowned sports stars from the Brandywell, many of whom secured All-Ireland, Olympic, Commonwealth and even World titles.
The extensive work is the result of over six months work by local artists Paddy Nelis and Gareth Doherty and also captures a number of nearby landmarks including St.Columb’s College and St.Columba’s Church Long Tower.
The one of a kind piece was commissioned by the bric Programme as part of its overall goal of cultivating good relations in communities across Northern Ireland and is part of a series of initiatives being provided by bric aimed at building understanding and relationships in areas where it is needed most.
Speaking at the launch, Colm Barton from the TRIAX Neighbourhood Management Team said the project has attracted a lot of positive local interest and he is hopeful it will be the first of many similar schemes in the area:
“This reimaging project has, first and foremost, enhanced the physical appearance of the area but it has gone well beyond that by capturing the imagination and interest of the local residents.
“As part of the initiative residents played an integral role in deciding who would be featured and what the project would look like and this has helped create a sense of civic pride that makes it all worthwhile.
“The involvement and support of the bric Programme and the Housing Executive have been invaluable in making this scheme possible. Through it we have been able to create something that will serve as a reminder of the huge input local people have had on the world of sport as well as improving the immediate look of the thoroughfare.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the inspirational work of Brian McMenamim from the Long Tower Youth and Community Centre who has been pivotal in making this project happen and without his direction and drive it would not have happened.
“The buzz around the project has been incredible and we are already in the process of working with bric and the Housing Executive to source further sites for similar projects.”
Welcoming the project, Kerry McIvor, bric Programme Manager, said:
“The bric Programme is delighted to have been involved with this project and we are thrilled by the hugely positive impact it has had on local residents and the ongoing role it is playing in cultivating and building community spirit in the Brandywell area.
“This artwork is an exciting and eye-catching addition to the Brandywell area and we are hopeful to expand on this work further and build on the community spirit and good relations it has so firmly established here.
“The support of the Housing Executive coupled with the hard work of Paddy Nelis, Gareth Doherty, the local residents and the TRIAX Team have been invaluable in making this project such a huge success.”
Brian McMenamim said:
“The contribution of the Brandywell to the world of sport over the years has been incredible and this new mural is a fantastic way to recognise and celebrate that input to so many different sports.
“The achievements recorded on this wall may never be repeated again and everyone involved with the mural and their families should be very proud of all their accomplishments.”
Eddie Breslin, Housing Executive Community Cohesion Advisor, said:
“This project has been a major talking point over the last couple of months and has really captured the interest and attention of so many. People are already asking when the next one will be and Housing Executive will be lending our support to make it a reality.
“I would encourage everyone to come and see what will undoubtedly be a legacy piece of art in the city.”
“The Housing Executive is pleased to be associated with the bric Programme and the invaluable work it does to help empower local communities to achieve their goals of creating neighbourliness and inclusiveness in all aspects of community life.”