A new mural inspired by Cardiff’s musical heritage and designed by Unify Creative, the artists behind the ‘Butetown Mona Lisa,’ has appeared in a Cardiff city centre underpass that runs beneath Boulevard de Nantes, connecting Kingsway with the Civic Centre.
A second mural by Wall-Op Murals, inspired by the city’s history and the works of William Burges at Cardiff Castle, has been installed in the former Glamorganshire Canal Tunnel that runs underneath Kingsway.
The murals have been commissioned by Cardiff Community Safety Partnership, made up of Cardiff Council, South Wales Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner and other key statutory and third sector partners.
Improved lighting has also been installed and additional CCTV cameras introduced to the area as part of the initiative, which is funded by a UK Home Office ‘Safer Streets’ grant and is primarily aimed at keeping women safe in the city centre.
Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events, Cllr Jennifer Burke, said: “Public art can be incredibly powerful and these murals celebrating Cardiff’s rich history and diverse musical heritage transform the underpasses into colourful walkways. These are key routes home from the city centre, and combined with the new lighting and CCTV, these bold murals help create an environment that feels safer and more welcoming.”
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “People, and particularly women, need to be able to socialise, work and travel around our city without feeling threatened or harassed, and the improvements being made to these underpasses are a step towards our aim of making Cardiff one of the safest cities in the UK.”
According to Yusuf Ismail of Unify Creative, the artwork inspired by the city’s musical heritage and how “integral it is to the identity of the city,” started changing the feeling in the underpass even before it was finished. He said: “Since the art started to go up the public passing buy have been positively engaging with the mural and it has immediately transformed the underpass into a safer more vibrant space.”
Robin Bonar-Law of Wall-Op Murals said: “The mural embraces Cardiff’s storied past and promising future. The idea is that it echoes the city’s architectural heritage, taking its inspiration from the Castle’s Burges inspired interiors but bringing a fresh and modern touch to the tunnel.
“The transformation aims to deter antisocial behaviour, replacing it with a sense of community and positivity, and hopefully the mural will stand as a tribute to Cardiff’s enduring spirit, honouring its history while infusing it with contemporary energy and life.”