Right-wing graffiti daubed on a shop wall has been turned into peaceful paintings by a Middlesbrough family.
Members of the Amanat family were shocked to discover the letters BNP daubed in yellow paint on the side of the shop they’ve run for about 15 years, Leinster News in Leinster Road, Gresham.
But with a few brush strokes of their own, the family has transformed the crude scrawl into a flower and a butterfly.
And while the British National Party slogan went ignored, shoppers and passers-by have given the new version the thumbs-up.
Student Shaz Amanat and her brother Nav decided to take the artistic stand.
Shaz, 19, said she first saw the graffiti as she headed for Middlesbrough’s Macmillan Sixth Form, where she is studying pyschology, biology, georgraphy and IT.
“It’s difficult to say how I felt, really – disheartened, I suppose. It was such a shock to see it
.“It was up for a couple of days because we didn’t have time to clear it off but then when I was on the Saturday shift with my brother, we decided to do something creative with it.”
Grabbing a pot of white paint, Shaz and Nav, 25, got to work.
Shaz said: “We just wanted to make a statement to show it’s not acceptable. Someone told me it’s happened on another building too, which is sad to hear.”
Shaz’s mum Zoe said:
“They are all really nice around here, we all know each other.
“I was shocked when I saw the latters – I just thought ‘which idiot did that?’ But people like it now – they say we should leave it as it is.”
Nav, an IT analyst, admits he originally just wanted to cover it up so his girlfriend didn’t have to see it.
“I found a tin of white paint we’ve probably had for years, but I didn’t put too much thought into it. I think Shaz was more hurt by it and it was her idea to paint a flower.
“No-one mentioned anything when it just said BNP but since we’ve changed it, we’ve had people taking photos and coming into the shop, even if they’re not buying anything, to say they love it. Facebook has been going crazy too.
“I don’t want people to think it’s a bad area around here because it isn’t – we’ve never had any trouble.
“And it’s my dad’s shop at the end of the day, so it’s his decision what do do with it. But if it’s sending out a good message, maybe we can leave it in place for a while.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 13 May 2015
A trio of diverse new films from South Tyneside documentary-maker Gary Wilkinson will shed light on different aspects of the borough’s past.
Prolific Mr Wilkinson has built up an impressive portfolio of filmic works in recent years.
And he shows no sign of slowing down, with his latest projects to be screened at the Central Library in South Shields later this month.
The first film, The King, The Queen And The Punk will be shown at the library’s Wednesday Heritage Club on March 19, from 7pm.
It recalls three key events in South Shields during the 1970s – the visits of HRH Queen Elizabeth and boxing legend ‘The King’ Muhammad Ali and the formation of the punk band, the Angelic Upstarts. Narrated by South Shields poet Alistair Robinson, the film includes footage showing the opening of the Central Library in South Shields by local writer James Mitchell in 1976.
On the same evening, Designs For Life – about tattooing and tattooing practices in South Tyneside – will be shown.
“Now considered by many to be an art form, tattooing is much more visible than it once was. It isn’t possible to go into a shop, take a bus or Metro, and not see patterns inked on skin,” the documentary maker said.
Finally, on Wednesday March 26, at the usual 2pm time for Wednesday Heritage Club, Gary’s film Wildflower will be shown.
A labour of love for the filmmaker, it chronicles the life of Eileen O’Shaughnessy – the South Shields-born wife of writer George Orwell.
Creating the film has involved a great deal of research and has taken Mr Wilkinson around the world, including New York. He first came across Eileen when there was a display about her life in the reference and local history library, and he realised that he wanted to find out more about her and document her life in a film.
He said: “I wanted to show how much she influenced George Orwell, arguably the most controversial and important writer of the 20th century.”
The film is narrated by local poet and dramatist Tom Kelly, who will introduce the event. It is also hoped that members of the Orwell Society will also be attending.
Mr Wilkinson added: “Eileen O’Shaughnessy is one of history’s forgotten people, but is an unsung heroine of the 20th century and certainly, many local people will be surprised to discover that her origins lie here in South Shields.”
Tickets for all the events in the Library Theatre cost £1 each. For further information, or to reserve a ticket, contact the Reference Department on 424 7864.
Source – Shields Gazette, 12 March 2014