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Outrage as stunning Cardiff mural is painted over

22 Jan 2022 5 minutes Read
Before and after: The mural on St James Street in Cardiff Bay (Credit: Cathy Owens)

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.

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 mural by Yusuf Ismail. Picture by Peter Gilbey.

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.”

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.”

‘Celebration’

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.

The mural by Yusuf Ismail. Picture by Peter Gilbey.

‘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.

BREAKING: McDonalds order repainting of iconic mural after row erupts

The Unify Creative mural on Quay Street in Cardiff city centre (Credit: Unify Creative)


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Dai Rob
Dai Rob
4 months ago

Disgraceful!! Fcuking Mcdonalds FFS!!! 🙁

Cilmeri
Cilmeri
4 months ago

Everybody needs to boycott MacDonalds. Hit them where it hurts!

Grayham Jones
4 months ago

Kick all fast foods out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 in the 50s 60s and the 70s women where slim and trim now they are all over wait and abest because of Take aways instead of cooking for themselves

Rob
Rob
4 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

If people want to eat fast food then that is their right, its not necessarily my preference but as individuals we have the right to chose. This is not a communist country

Phil
Phil
4 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Was it only women who were slim in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, Grayham?…. or were they the only people that caught your eye?

Carol Loughlin
Carol Loughlin
4 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Rather a misogynistic comment. No place for that attitude in this day and age.

Bidy2foot
Bidy2foot
3 months ago
Reply to  Carol Loughlin

Don’t be so perpetually offended love ( ooh, misogyny! )

Erisian
Erisian
4 months ago

My diet, my burger.
Not realy the same uplifting feeling is it?
A smarter, more sensitive McDonalds would have picked up the rental bill and added a small sponsership sign.

defaid
defaid
4 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Yes, and a less arrogant ad agency would have shown a good deal more respect too.

Dic Aberdaron
Dic Aberdaron
4 months ago

‘This is as much of my city as it is yours’ meaning that despite your skin colour, this makes her Welsh. this is absolutely abhorrent!, sandblast the top coating and restore the original!.. but it would also be good to have the slogan written in Welsh!.

defaid
defaid
4 months ago

Some displeasing truths.

This has nothing to do with McDonalds.

It has everything to do with either Mischief’s for selling the space or the ad agency that now manages it.

Yusuf knew the space was free for just six months.

It was only extended to 12 because at the height of covid, nobody wanted to spend on renting the space.

Yusuf seems to have made no comment on the reappropriation of the space.

Dislike by all means; this pi55es me off too and I’ll assume you dislike the info, not me for pointing it out.

Phil
Phil
4 months ago

My Ad-Agency, My Wall, unfortunately.

Phil
Phil
4 months ago

McDonalds, apparently, have asked the ad agency to have the mural repainted.

Malcolm
Malcolm
3 months ago

Sad but everyone is kicking off at maccyd,s

Its the advertising company and the restaurant making money out of the wall..

I’m sure if they wanted they could of got out of the contract and returned the money

Callum
Callum
3 months ago

Wales and Great Britain as a whole is facing a massive cost of living crisis where most of the population are having to choose between heat or eat, a mural celebrating a small subset of the nation is quite far down the list of priorities for any sensible hard working citizen, maybe take your eyes off being outraged and inflamed by this and actually question your MPs and government on what they are doing to help everyone through these extremely uncertain times. Rant over.

Lizzie
Lizzie
3 months ago
Reply to  Callum

You use language that is racially charged without kmowing your doing it i hope because otherwise you are a closet racist sorry to be blunt but i have in my 50+ years of breathing never heard someone use the term igbo! Exactly who do you think you watch playing football in the Premiership….not many white boys are top players . Maybe if people who held your views stayed away from cfc wed have more welsh black people in the stands. Best we remember that without the people of colour from all over the world you wouldnt be here to spout… Read more »

Callum
Callum
3 months ago
Reply to  Lizzie

Why didn’t you reply to the original post, why pick something that your Marxist brain is outraged by instead of intelligently countering my points.

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