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Murals to mark BLM unveiled in Hamilton

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The City of Hamilton and the Bermuda National Gallery unveil a new mural as a part of the Peaceful Art Protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Left to right are muralist Dennis Joaquin, Peter Lapsley, the director of the Bermuda National Gallery and Hamilton Mayor Charles Gosling. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A pair of murals created to celebrate the Black Lives Matter movement and peaceful protest were unveiled in the Hamilton yesterday.

The murals were created as part of the Peaceful Art Protest Mural Project, a collaboration between the Bermuda National Gallery and the City of Hamilton.

The works were based on submissions by artists to show solidarity with the BLM movement and painted by muralist Dennis Joaquin.

The mural at the Number 1 car park on Front Street is based on a photograph by Meredith Andrews from the island’s Black Lives Matter march last year.

The artwork depicts a marcher in a Bermuda face mask with his arm in the air and dressed in a shirt which mirrors the drape of the Statue of Liberty’s robe.

The second mural, painted on the City Hall car park wall on Church Street, was based on work by primary school pupils Thomas Smith, Angelo Burgess, William Leman and Lindsey Leman.

Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton said the Corporation launched the streets art programme about ten years ago with the goal of beautifying the city and celebrating Bermuda’s people.

He added: “There were a lot of dead, dull walls around, conveying nothing about the beauty and the culture of the island.

“When you have a movement like BLM, which is an aspirational movement and one that as a white Bermudian I fully endorse, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to convey the message that Black lives matter and the aspirational message that this artist is portraying.”

Mr Gosling said the depiction of a “young, vibrant Bermudian declaring his strength and his determination” with echoes of the Statue of Liberty delivered a powerful message.

He added: “This is what makes art. This is what makes us want to spend a lot of time talking about it.”

Peter Lapsley, the director of the Bermuda National Gallery, said the public art programme in the city was “crucial”.

Mr Lapsley added: “The arts give as an opportunity to see life through a different lens and, in the challenging times that we live in, I think it’s increasingly important.

Mr Joaquin said he was pleased to be able to translate the “powerful images” into murals.

He said: “The painting on Front Street, it was inspiring just putting it up there.

“Each day I would come to it and I would see it grow. It just grew out of the pavement and onto the canvas there.”

Mr Joaquin added peaceful protests played a role in tackling injustice – and that calm would prevail.

He said: “A lot of us are maybe becoming aware of things we weren’t aware of in our society.

“People are waking up and realising their world wasn’t how they thought it was.

“Sometimes there has to be a storm before the calm.”

Charles Gosling, Mayor of Hamilton, Rachel Swinburne of Peaceful Art Protest, Dennis Joaquin, muralist, and Peter Lapsley, director of the Bermuda National Gallery. (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

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Published January 08, 2021 at 8:28 am (Updated January 08, 2021 at 8:27 am)

Murals to mark BLM unveiled in Hamilton

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