IPSWICH IS now home to a vibrant and eye-catching Black Panther-inspired mural, thanks to artist EVEWRIGHT and a group of local young people.
EVEWRIGHT, who is currently working on an outdoor installation to honour the Windrush generation, led 16 young people to design the mural for Ipswich’s Waterfront area.
The process began with online workshops that the artist delivered from his studio in Essex, giving participants a creative activity to do during lockdown.
Inspired by Marvel’s Ryan Coogler directed film Black Panther, the community created artwork depicts Okoye, the general of the Wakandan armed forces, Dora Milaje. Surrounding Okoye are colourful patterns and various words and phrases such as “black lives matter”, “elevate others” and “strength”.
The mural was painted by Philip Melling and 26 volunteers, including the young people who took part in the online workshops, some passers by, and members of Art Eat Festival Community Committee.
“I’m guiding young people across all ethnicities to explore ‘power’”
It took five days to complete.
Speaking about the EVEWRIGHT said: “The Black Panther film is loved by many young people, and it came from the original Black Panther movement, which was about black people helping and educating themselves and their children.
“So, in the making of the mural project, I’m guiding young people across all ethnicities to explore ‘power’; who holds the power, self-empowerment, the idea of ‘hero’ and what today’s heroes look like. The mural was youth-led messaging. It allowed young people to get involved in painting their own messages on the wall.
He added: “Emory Douglas created a lot of the Black Panther posters, and I loved his posters when I was a kid. I’m now a graphic artist by training, so the young people will look at graphics and art of that time, and come up with a mural that represents not only the message of what was going on then but also how we can dovetail messages relevant to present times, including that of current events, triggered by the killing of George Floyd.”
Art Eat Events CIC, an independent not-for-profit arts organisation and events company, managed the community mural, which was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.
It has been created in association with The Power of Stories exhibition, which is set to take place at Christchurch Mansion in 2021.
The young people who took part in the project are supported by 14 local youth and community organisations including Swerve Sunday Ipswich, 4YP Suffolk Young People’s Health Project, Catch 22, Future Female Society, Ipswich Community Media, IO Radio, Outreach Youth, Staying Close, Out Loud Music, Karibu, Rock Paper Scissors as well as Suffolk Libraries and Ipswich & Colchester Museum Service.