Murals Depicting Life In East Belfast Unveiled

Two murals, covering three storeys of the City East building at the gateway to East Belfast, on Newtownards Road, have been officially launched by Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Ryan Murphy. Created by cross-community groups with direction from local artist Dee Craig, the installation promises to encourage curiosity among Belfast’s citizens about the industrial past of our city while we visualise our future.

The project — Connecting Communities Through Art — is the brainchild of East Belfast Enterprise, a charity and social enterprise focused on bringing advantage to disadvantaged communities by encouraging entrepreneurship, and Belfast Mural Arts, bringing together numerous demographics from the area including people from the two main traditions and new immigrants in the community, to depict the diversity of living in the east of the city.

Using a US mural method known as The Parachute Cloth Technique, the concept includes artwork of cross-community groups in the Ballymacarrett and Short Strand areas specifically incorporating design ideas from the wider diverse East Belfast community, including school children, people living with disabilities, the elderly and ethnic minority groups.

The mural design was developed during a series of more than 30 workshops in which the groups discussed themes to reflect the lives of those living in East Belfast.

Their designs also pay homage to the east’s strong industrial heritage as well as its future potential. Created by painting directly onto parachute cloth, the artwork has been installed on two sides of City East building, and Belfast Mural Arts are the only artists in Europe that specialise in the parachute technique, which gave scope for the entire mural project to be participant friendly with local people actively engaged in painting sessions.

Belfast Mural Arts installed the artwork in a jigsaw-like technique using super strength glue to give it a lifespan of up to 25 years before requiring maintenance.

Speaking about the launch of the mural installation, Jonathan McAlpin, Chief Executive of East Belfast Enterprise, which owns the City East building, said: “We occupy an iconic site on Newtownards Road so our vision was to create something iconic that would exude passion and captivate passers by, filling them with pride and inspiration. I’m hoping that they will pause and take a moment to appreciate the murals and take time to reflect and aspire as they view the subject matter. After months of discussion, planning, painting and engagement with Belfast Mural Arts I’m proud that we can now see the project we envisaged coming to life. For East Belfast Enterprise to be at the forefront of creating a piece of art with Connecting Communities Through Art that tells the true story of modern-day East Belfast, its business heritage, diverse culture, unity and future potential, is a testament to our commitment to this area, its people, remembering its past with fondness and looking with optimism as we journey through its future.

“This mural installation is an artistic reflection of the East Belfast community made while breaking boundaries, building relationships and challenging negative perceptions that lead to division and associated anti-social behaviour in this part of the city. I believe the imagery celebrates and embodies the values that define us and the dreams that unite us.

“Our objective was to celebrate the successes of East Belfast recognising the historic economic achievements from this area while looking to a future that can tap into the latent innovation, talent and entrepreneurship that rests within this community and I believe we have achieved this from the art that is now hanging on the walls of our building at City East. I believe these two murals will create a positive legacy and forge connections in the community. They are a permanent visual presentation of our community’s vision of and for East Belfast. Where there is inclusivity and cohesiveness, there are also productive outcomes and art is a powerful medium to bring people together.”

The murals have been installed with equipment from Briggs Equipment and have been made possible by funding through collaboration with Apex Housing, Belfast City Council, Clanmil Housing, Connswater, George Best Belfast City Airport, NI Community Relations Council, Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Radius Housing.

For more information on the Connecting Communities Through Art project visit,,,

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