Belfast Or Bust

Two from Swiss artist Bust (ig | web) for HTN22, who describes his current work as “neo-pop”, combining pop art, cartoon characters, and traditional graffiti writing. The smaller piece is in Donegall Street, the multi-storey one can be seen from Kent St.

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Vagabonds Of The Western World

Hit The North (organised by Seedhead Arts and sponsored by Hennessy) brings street artists from around the world to Belfast. All of today’s images – which show the lower west side of Kent Street – are by artists from Ireland, north and south – with work by KloWi (ig), Conor McClure (ig) who has painted Phil Lynott, NRMN (Gerry Norman ig), HM Constance (ig), Kilian (ig) who has painted UK chancellor Rishi Sunak saying “Give me all your money, punk”, [Laura Nelson – to be added], Kerrie Hanna (ig), and All The Doodz (ig).

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Have A Good Day

Two more by Nathan Bowen (ig | web store), in Donegall Street, Belfast – “Have a good day” and “Be inspired”.

See previously: Builders At Work | Covid-Era Canvasses

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For The Football

Before he died (in 2005), George Best asked that people “remember me for my football” and the phrase became the title of a Best retrospective. It is also inspired the life-size title of the statue of created by Tony Currie and funded by fans (Belfast Live) in front of Windsor Park (and the Glen Molly (ig) mural in Hill Street). When it was launched, the statue drew criticism for not looking like its subject (BBC | Newsletter). Soccer star sculptures are perhaps hard to do: here’s a list of ten questionable statues of soccer stars, including Maradona in Kolkata (Guardian) and Ronaldo in Madeira (BBC), but missing Mo Salah in Sharm al-Sheikh (BBC).

For an awkward painting of Best, see The Best A Man Can Get in Newtownards.

See also the new Best mural in Cregagh: Maradona Good, Pelé Better, George Best

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Racism Energy

Here is a selection of graffiti art/wild-style writing from Belfast, including (above) “Racism is small dick energy” on the Cupar Way “peace” line and “Warehouse” in Warehouse Lane.

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New Development

When Cupar Way was constructed (circa 1984) it was a joining stretch of road put in place where the houses along Ashmore Street had been, and joined up (part of) Cupar Street and the old First Street; the new road in toto was called “Cupar Way”. Ashmore had been left undeveloped after the start of the Troubles and despite the presence of the separating barrier from 1969 onward, many of the houses on both sides of the wall were demolished or left vacant for various lengths of time. Carlow Street, for example, was redeveloped in 1981, even before the modern wall was put in place, while Ashmore and the bottom of the old Sugarfield Street was not redeveloped until the mid-1990s. (For more info and maps see the Visual History page of the Cupar Way “peace” line.)

The block between First and Third streets was occupied (from 1956 onward) by a Wellman Smith Owen Engineering factory, which had earlier been the Falls Foundry (History); it’s not clear what the date “1897” refers to (above Jesus’s head – for the mural, see Prince Of Peace Line) as the foundry was established in 1845 (Lindsay 1970, Textile History 1.3). Wellman still exists as a company but the foundry at First Street was closed in 1968 (Grace’s). The site is finally to be redeveloped with 48 semi-detached and one detached house – images of what the houses will look like upon completion can be seen at Rea Estates (web).

The new development is presaged by the (May 2021, but still looking fresh) scaled-down security gate at the junction with North Howard Street – similar to the changes made at Workman Avenue and at Townsend Street – with pedestrian gates on both footpaths and no metal sheeting to obscure the view.

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And There’s More

Three Jimmys by Glen Molloy (ig): comedian James Young (WP), actor James Nesbitt (IMDb), and comedian Jimmy Cricket (web | tw) with “sadly no room for Jimmy ‘Rock’n’roll’ Symmington”.

This is the second “3 Jimmy’s” mural; the first was in Exchange Place in 2017.

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Нет войне!

Protestors in the Russian Federation – 15,000 by late March (Economist) – face fines and imprisonment for holding up signs that say “Нет войне” (“Nyet voyne” – Russian for “No war”) or anything that indicates dissent from the official line on the so-called “special operation” (e.g. AP).

In Belfast, Tadeusz Tradewski’s 1952 poster “Nie!” [Polish for “No!”] (MOMA) has been updated for the current war in Ukraine – in the shadow of the bomb (which has a “Z” on the tail) is not a city but a graveyard, the graveyard of the planet. (See previously: Stop War)

An advice centre for Ukrainians opened in Belfast this week – BBC.

Warehouse Lane, Belfast, to the side of a 2020 piece by Irony.

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Ukraine Has Suffered Enough

After amassing roughly 200,000 troops along the border, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24th; yesterday thus ended the tenth day of fighting. Perhaps 10,000 soldiers (both Ukrainian and Russian) and 2,000 civilians have died, and roughly 1.4 million people have fled the country. “Слава Україні!” [Slava Ukraini!] is the salute of the Ukrainian armed forces but has become a rallying cry in the mouths of people and nations around the globe in support of Ukraine, amongst which are artist FGB (ig) and the Sunflower bar in Kent Street, Belfast.

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She’s Got The Look

Street art by RAZER – typically a writer – in Union Street, Belfast.

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