Saturday, 9 May 2009

Short Strand Artwork

Bhí láinseáil de múirphictúireacha sa Trá Ghearr an seachtain seo chuaigh thart, bhí dóchas orm cuireadh a fháil go dtí an imeacht seo.

A number of artworks were launched along the so-called 'peacewalls' (that's a term i just dislike) in the Bryson and Madrid Street areas of the strand this week.

The Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Tom Hartley was in attendance as was chair of the Council's Good Relations Unit, Naomi Long MLA.

While there was a very healthy debate at the Short Strand Partnership on the merit of putting art displays up on the walls, the final products were clearly impressive to everyone at the launch.

I took some convincing, and still am not totally convinced that this is a brilliant thing, i would be much more in favour of getting rid of the bloody walls altogether but nevertheless while there they give an opportunity for people right across the community to turn a negative into a positive and express themselves in an artistic fashion. Now that is important.

Fair play to everyone involved, especially the group from the Doyle Youth Club and Short Strand Community Forum.

The photo shows me with Paul McCrory (who we all know as Coccher) with Tom Hartley, Naomi Long and the guys from the Doyle who along with artist Tom Agnew, put a lot of work into the artworks.

I must say however that I am deeply upset and offended at the manipulation of these artworks by the Irish News to take a photograph of an Israeli Ambassador at them without consenting anyone in the community beforehand. The short strand community is one that is very sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people and gave extremely generously when the local Sinn Féin Cumann went door to door collecting on behalf of the besieged people of Gaza. No one, least not an Israeli official should use this situation as a comparison to the illegal wall encaging the people of Gaza, no such legitimacy for their illegal and brutal activities will be found by cynically using this communities difficulties to forward an unacceptable Israeli myth!

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