Powerful Peterborough anti-racist mural has impact in USA

A Peterborough artist who created a powerful anti-racism mural in a city underpass has spoken of the importance of racial equality after the stunning piece was picked up in Minnesota.

Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 3:44 pm
Street artist Nath Murdoch touches up his anti-racism mural in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 2, 2020. The artist was recently contacted by a woman in Minneapolis, Minnesota, telling him how poignant the artwork was and that she hoped it would resonate with her community following the death of George Floyd in the city on May 25, and the ensuing protests that have spread around the US. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire EMN-200206-151710005

Nathan Murdoch created the huge piece, depicting two people of different races shaking hands, with their arms forming a heart shape, in November last year. The work was sprayed onto the wall in an underpass at Taverners Road, Peterborough after Nathan was approached by a charity to create an anti-racism piece.

But following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota last week, the untitled work has been picked up across the world.

Nathan said: “Last summer I was approached by Diaspora, an arts and education charity, to create something to promote anti-racisim, because there were a lot of racial tensions in the area. The underpass had swastikas and other racist graffiti in it.

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“I came up with the concept, and we created it in November last year.

“It did really well at the time, and I reposted images on Valentines’ Day, and it did well again.

“I then woke up the other day with an email from a lady in Minnesota, saying she would like to use the image.

“I was amazed someone from that far away had seen it from so far away.

“I started speaking to her on Facebook. She said with what happened to George Floyd, it was not a pleasant time there, and she had lots of difficult conversations with friends and family. She wanted to find a piece of art to sum up her feelings, and she came across my piece.

“The piece has become very popular on social media again now - for the third time.”

The mural is still in place in the underpass - and Nathan, director of Street Arts Hire, said he never envisaged the impact the piece would have when he created it.

He said: “I have been painting in Peterborough for 22 years, and I never foresee the emotional connections and impacts the work will have on people.

“When my work has an impact on someone about such an important issue like this one, it is inspirational. For my business I do things that are good for my wallet, but I also do things that are good for the soul.”