“As a member of the Black Scottish community, I was inspired to create an opportunity for Scotland to speak out together and to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Wezi, “My plan was to initiate a number of mural displays by Scotland’s Black & Asian creatives, as visual symbols of solidarity with George Floyd and many others who have recently lost their lives due to racial injustice.”
After initiating and installing eight pieces of artwork, Wezi set up a crowdfunding campaign with the aim of commissioning further pieces, and any excess funds being donated to Black Lives Matter Scotland for organisational and governance support.
“Art is powerful and at a time when all Scotland’s venues are closed for the foreseeable future, they can still have a voice by offering their walls and doors to be used for this dramatic, vital statement of support,” said Wezi.
At the time of writing Edinburgh has 17 locations as part of the Black Lives Matter Mural Trail, including at Usher Hall, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Printmakers and The Hub. Work by Tayo Adekunle, who graduated this year from the Photography programme at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), is on display at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on High Street. Another mural on Lower Gilmore Place depicts Frederick Douglass, a former slave who escaped and became a leading figure in the abolitionist movement. Douglass stayed at 33 Gilmore Place during a two-year visit to Britain and Ireland in the mid-1840s, from which he organised many anti-slavery campaigns across Scotland.
Curious Edinburgh - a project based at Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh - is building the trail into their walking tours app, giving people the opportunity to learn more about the artists and their work as they make their way between the different venues on the Mural Trail.
“The response to the initial artworks gives me hope that a meaningful conversation on race and inequality is possible in Scotland, and that the experiences of black people across the country can be acknowledged and listened to with empathy and support,” said Wezi, “We need a reminder that anti-racism is not just a passing trend, that will disappear with the hashtag, and when the press lose interest. I believe that these artworks will be visual reminders, and continuing talking points.”
Video interviews with artists
A series of videos have been produced with artists who have produced work for the Mural Trail discussing their artwork.
Ayo Adedeji’s work at Quakers Meeting House >
Beatrice Ajayi’s work at Museum of Childhood >
Annie George’s work at Traverse Theatre >
Rudy Kanhye’s work at The Queen’s Hall >
Tony Kalisa’s work at Playhouse Theatre >
Fadeke Kokumo Rocks’ work at Writers Museum >
Abz Mills’ work at The Usher Hall >
Jeda Pearl Lewis’s work at Museum of Edinburgh >
Neon Requiem’s work at The Royal Lyceum >
Jamal Yussuff-Adelakun’s work at The Hub >