My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Rebel Bear artwork inspired by disabled parking row to be displayed at Cardiff gallery on site of dispute

A mural found in Cardiff created by the mysterious Glaswegian Street artist, The Rebel Bear, is being shown at Blackwater Gallery on the site of the parking dispute which inspired the piece.

The artwork, which appeared on hoardings on Ferry Road in July 2022, was painted by the ‘Scottish Banksy’ in support of Cerys Gemma, a disabled woman who lives in the city. Cerys is trying to overturn parking charges for using disabled spaces outside her flat in Prospect Place, Grangetown.

Like Banksy, the Rebel Bear’s identity remains a mystery, and they reportedly paint while dressed in a bear costume. The mural – which sparked national headlines – depicts Cerys Gemma sitting in a wheelchair which has been clamped.

Blackwater Gallery, an independent contemporary gallery located at Prospect Place, will display the artwork until Friday 2nd June 2023. The gallery has worked with Cardiff Council – which removed the original artwork for preservation – and Cerys Gemma to secure The Rebel Bear’s piece. The mural was previously displayed in the Cardiff Museum as part of its ‘Protest’ exhibition, which explores 100 years of activism and protest in Cardiff.

In an Instagram post, the world-renowned artist described the artwork as “just another example of overly bureaucratic, money-grabbing that seems to run through most institutions in society.”

Cerys Gemma, the subject of the artwork, said:

“I feel it’s a powerful statement that the artwork is being moved to where I live and where the dispute all started. I hope it continues to help raise awareness that the systems that discriminate against and disempower disabled people need to change.”

Blackwater Gallery owner Jamie Aherne said:

“We are humbled to showcase the Rebel Bear’s mural in support of Cerys Gemma’s protest against parking fines.

“When we were contacted by our local councillor telling us of Cerys’ plight, we jumped at the opportunity to support this campaign. We are incredibly thankful to The Rebel Bear for allowing us to display this important work.

“We hope it will create discussion about equality issues in our local community, and we look forward to welcoming visitors keen to see the piece for themselves.”

Local Grangetown Councillor Sara Robinson, who supported Cerys Gemma in her battle with the private car park company and led the campaign to preserve the artwork, said:

“This striking mural demonstrates the power of art to raise awareness of equalities and discrimination issues. Cerys is brave and resilient, and it’s been a privilege to be part of a dispute that I believe she should never have faced.

“I’d like to thank Cardiff Council officers who made the swift preservation of the artwork possible. I would also like to thank local law firm Capital Law for taking up Cerys’ case on a pro bono basis. Finally, I’m delighted this mural will be displayed where Cerys lives, as I can’t think of a better home for it.”

Blackwater Art Gallery is open Wednesday to Friday from 9am to 5pm