Outrage as stunning Cardiff mural is painted over
A landmark mural which was unveiled last March has been painted over – prompting anger and outrage at the removal of the stunning artwork.
The hand-painted My City My Shirt mural, celebrating the joint heritage of Cardiff’s Black and other ethnic minority communities has now disappeared.
The mural, which was created by local creative Yusuf Ismail, is to be replaced by an ad from burger giant McDonalds.
Well, the worst thing you can imagine is happening right now to the best mural in Cardiff. Covered up for a burger ad. Please contact us @McDonalds so we can salvage some good for the amazing young people of our city. pic.twitter.com/yBGjRcfzOp
— Cathy Owens (@cathy_owens) January 22, 2022
The wall space which is owned by Mischiefs Bar in Cardiff Bay, was given to Yusuf and his team at Unity Creative for a nominal fee. That deal has now come to an end and an ad agency has bought the space for its client McDonalds.
Shaun Shah, manager at Mischiefs, said that the decision was out of his hands, due to the bar having signed a five year lease contract with the ad agency who dictate what appears on the wall.
“We gave Yusuf the space last year originally for six months, we then extended it because there was no advertising coming in, due to the pandemic,” he said.
When asked if he understood that people would be upset at the removal of the mural, he added:
“Yes, absolutely. While I understand people’s frustrations, sadly it is out of our hands as we cannot break the contract with the agency.”
He added that the McDonalds advertising would be on the wall for three weeks then another ad is booked in to follow it.
The removal of the much loved mural has been met with dismay and anger.
Economy minister Vaughan Gething tweeted: I could not be more unimpressed with
@McDonaldsUK @McDonalds- staggeringly insensitive.
Cathy Owens, who lives around the corner from the mural and first posted about it being painted over, said she hoped that something positive could still be salvaged from this.
“I doubt McDonald’s is even aware of this happening and the sensitivities of painting over such an amazing mural,” she said. “I hope they can respond positively and provide new spaces for the community.
“It’s been amazing to see what Yusuf and his team have done by bringing parts of Buteown to life. It’s such a shame this has happened. So let’s see what we can do in terms of turning this negative into a positive.
“Maybe McDonalds could investigate what they can do to support the creative and sporting communities in the diverse parts of the city.”
Live update. Feel a bit sorry for these guys. Only doing a job. But sad to watch. pic.twitter.com/ISsRe8ss80
— Cathy Owens (@cathy_owens) January 22, 2022
Yusuf Ismail, a creative from Cardiff with Somali heritage created the mural celebrating the city’s black citizens’ joint heritage as part of the project – ‘My City, My Shirt’.
Cardiff has the oldest black population in Wales and one of the oldest Muslim communities in the UK. Yet, instead of celebrating the communities’ joint Welsh heritage and the massive contributions to the city, the community is often demonised, ghettoised and faces daily micro-aggressions and discrimination, the artist said.
Speaking to us at the unveiling last year Yusuf said that he felt that Butetown has been left behind and cordoned off by city planning. The heritage of the Cardiff Docks is all but forgotten and plans to build a military museum in the area on public land, despite widespread protests, is emblematic of the exclusion and discrimination the community faces, he said.
“A public mural like this will be a powerful affirmation and provide daily comfort and encouragement,” he said. “For Cardiff City FC supporters, and the wider population it can be an eye-opener, a point of view they may have previously missed, and hopefully a step towards changing mind sets.
“Following BLM demonstrations, the recent review of statues and monuments associated with slavery in Wales, and the announcement to introduce black history to our new Welsh curriculum, change is in the air and it is time to act now.
“Many people from our community are angry following the death of Mohamud Hassan and we want to give the community something to celebrate, an uplifting statement after this deeply challenging time.”
Yusuf said that he had identified Cardiff City FC as a key vehicle for sending a strong message about the issues that Cardiff’s black communities face and showcasing their contribution to and place in the city.
Yusuf added he wanted to make a statement on racial equality. Football culture is often the setting for racist behaviour and discrimination; many black and other racialised communities are not able to safely support their local club, he said.
‘My City, My Shirt’, a project by the UNIFY collective, is a photography series showcasing Cardiff City FC football fans from diverse backgrounds has been joined by a huge public mural declaring: “We are Cardiffians. We are part of this club and this city. We’re of the past, present and future. We belong and this is our home.”
Unify are also the group behind the much praised My Wales My Shirt mural on Quay Street in Cardiff City centre.
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