The history of HMS Belfast, reflected in a new image and information leaflet, will be unveiled in East Belfast, January 28th, as special guests, along with Sara Shields from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and members of the local community celebrate their Re-Imaging Project.
£6,445, part of the Arts Council’s £3 million Re-imaging Communities Programme (on behalf of the Shared Communities Consortium), was awarded to East Belfast Historical and Cultural Society for the ‘Remember our Industrial Heritage HMS Belfast’ re-imaging project, in August 2008.
Commenting on the Project, Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council and Chair of the Shared Communities Consortium said “Art has a key role to play in promoting community cohesion and regeneration by building confidence, skills and helping people to live and work together. This project enabled many groups within the community, across the generations, to become involved in and enjoy the arts, while celebrating local history.
David Craig’s involvement, as a professional artist, helped to promote art, putting it at the heart of the community. The whole project has provided an opportunity for the Re-Imaging Communities Programme to support the vision of local people as they take steps to provide a more welcoming environment and give all the participants something to feel proud of.”
The re-imaging mural depicts HMS Belfast, 70 years old in 2008, and replaces sectarian and racist graffiti. The leaflet explains the history of this ship and the background to the project, written by East Belfast Historical and Cultural Society.
David Craig, the artist working on the project, explained how the work came about, saying “Community art is always a good tool for expanding a community’s knowledge of their cultural past. This project was an opportunity for local people to get involved with art and use it to express their industrial history and their appreciation for the royal navy, and in particular, the HMS Belfast, which was built in Harland & Wolff Shipyard. Six workshops were held during the project, so everyone who wanted to get involved could do so. The result was a mural that combined a set of images that not only improved the area and illustrated its past, but also gave those involved a new artistic awareness and confidence .”