Iconic ‘My Cymru, My Shirt’ street artwork is to be painted over
The people behind one of the most stunning murals in Cardiff have announced that it is to be removed.
A statement from Unify Creative, the team responsible for several murals in the city including the Gary Speed mural and the My City, My Shirt mural, posted a message on Twitter announcing that the ‘My Cymru, My Shirt’ mural on Quay Street opposite the Principality Stadium is to be painted over.
The mural appeared on the eve of Cymru’s round 16 Euro 2020 tie against Denmark on June 21 and quickly established itself as one of the most popular pieces of street art in the Welsh capital.
The post read: “Over the past 18 months, the response to our My Cymru, My Shirt mural on Quay St in Cardiff has been beyond our wildest expectations.
“As part of our photo series of the same name, it has celebrated different communities, started conversations that needed to happen, promoted diversity and championed inclusivity, creating a unified sense of belonging.
“Originally commissioned by Adidas to coincide with the Euros back in July 2021, this part of the campaign is drawing to a close. As a result, the wall is being repainted shortly and the mural is being replaced with other commissioned artwork for both commercial and community messages.
“We always understood this would happen at some stage and it’s amazing it’s been up for 18 months, much longer than any of us expected!
We have plenty of exciting projects on the horizon and look forward to sharing them with you real soon. Stay tuned!”
With the coming down of the My Cymru, My shirt Mural we wanted to say a few words as a statement reflecting on a special moment & thank everyone who supported us. plenty more projects in the pipeline that we hope will inspire change in the same way #mycymrumyshirt pic.twitter.com/Ogh7u05GO9
— unifycreative (@unifycreative_) January 24, 2023
The story of the mural – first published in June 2021
When Nicole Ready saw her face emblazoned on the side of a building in Cardiff she was understandably taken aback.
The freelance artist and creative is the subject of a stunning mural which appeared on the side of a building in Quay Street in the city centre ahead of the Wales v Denmark game on Saturday.
It features a giant artwork of the 22-year-old wearing a yellow Wales away shirt. Unsurprisingly, the striking image has resulted in lots of positive reaction, not least from Nicole’s friends.
“I’ve been working in London for the past week which meant I had to delete all my social media and ignore a lot of text messages because everyone was sending me photos and I wanted to see it in real life first,” she says.
“But yesterday I got to see it in person with my mum and it was incredible and so overwhelming. Little me on a massive wall in Cardiff, which I would walk past every day in high school after I got off the bus.”
The mural is part of a project commissioned by Adidas called ‘My Country. My Shirt’. It was painted by renowned Welsh street artist Bradley Rmer One and put together by Yusuf Ismail and Shawqi Hasson of Unify Creatives, the pair responsible for the ‘My City, My Shirt’ Cardiff City street art project.
“I’m the biggest fan of the Cardiff City shirt project and mural,” says Nicole. “Yusuf is one of my friends and we’ve been wanting to do a shoot for a little while together, particularly highlighting my Afro, and then this project came up and he asked me to model and it all aligned.”
The mural had to be put together quickly, as Wales progressed from their Euro 2020 group to the last 16 of the competition.
“I got sent a mock-up of it just over a week ago and it was so unexpected,” she says. “I didn’t know how to process the thought of my face being on a wall in Cardiff.
“But I thought if it does go ahead of them it will be a while until it comes out so I have time to let this sink in. Then a couple of days later I got sent a photo by Yusuf of it half done and I was like oh my goodness right okay this is happening then.”
The feedback has been wholly positive with the mural receiving much praise, something which has taken Nicole by surprise.
“It’s been overwhelming for sure,” she says. “The reach it has had, the range of people who interacted with it in real life and online is amazing to see. I am just so happy for Yusuf, Shawqi, and Bradley that their message and art is out there and being loved by so many people, it is just so well deserved.”
As much as Nicole is happy with the praise the mural has received, she’s keen to point out the important message behind the art.
“This project is bigger than us, it’s about representation and seeing faces in our community on the walls of our city,” she said. “What is most special to me about this is my little cousins’ reactions and how excited they are.
“So many people like me can relate to not feeling represented growing up, which pushes me to be part of the narrative that changes that. So the fact my little cousins can fully see themselves in this mural because it is of their big cousin, means so to me.”
The project was quite a challenge for Yusuf, Shawqi and Bradley.
“When Wales progressed in the tournament Adidas asked us if there was anything we could do ahead of the Denmark game,” says Yusuf. “I proposed the mural idea, but we only had four days to complete it.
“To give you an idea of timescale, previous murals usually take up to six weeks of planning.
“This was four days of scrambling and running around. The biggest challenge isn’t the artwork itself, it’s about finding a site, it’s finding the equipment, negotiating with all the people involved. The most crucial aspect is getting everything on board.”
Unify has gained many plaudits for their groundbreaking projects, which use the platform of visual arts and football to spread the message of inclusivity in sport. Adidas were so impressed with the ‘My City. My Shirt’ project, that they were keen to support the work Yusuf and his team were creating.
“We wanted to showcase people of colour from Wales,” says Yusuf. “A black female with an afro is very image and we wanted to make that the focus of the new mural.
“We are about Issues that speak to us, that affect us and we are concerned by,” he adds. “We don’t think enough is being done to tackle racism and discrimination in football. We don’t think things like Show Racism The Red Card work. Most of it is just empty statements. We wanted to do something a bit more provocative, edgy and organic.
“This is real work that resonates with people. The work comes from a very sincere place and we want to spread our message as far as possible.”
You can follow the work of Unify Creative on Twitter.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.