THE people of Newport are having a whale of a time this month as they have had the chance to take part in workshops to create a whale mosaic this month.

Project director, Newport mosaic artist Stephanie Roberts, came up with the idea to create a piece of recycled art for Newport made by the people of the city after discovering the abandoned whale sculpture in a dump.

The whale, known as ‘Whaley’ for the time being, was formerly part of the Newport Centre many years ago but has since been discarded.

Ms Roberts came up with the concept of ‘u-cycling’ to give the whale a new lease of life through mosaic art.

Tying in with The Big Splash, a series of workshops is being held at Project Space-a project initiative by the city art team at the Riverfront, providing a platform for creative arts in Newport.

International artists are on hand to help while people of all ages get involved in the workshop on Saturday, to decorate the whale with tiles. Those involved will also have the chance to name him with the winning name receiving a prize from Newport Bus to win a day trip for up to five family members to a destination of their choice.

“I am delighted that a mosaic project based in Newport can attract so much international interest,” Ms Roberts said.

“I had a concept idea of ‘u-cycling’ with mosaic art, a much loved whale from Newport’s Leisure centre, as collaboration with the Big Splash 2014," Ms Roberts said.

“When the workshops where announced to the public on social media the project turned global," Ms Roberts said.

“In support of this project, four international mosaic artists are collaborating with Newport’s residents in spreading awareness to ‘Say NO to Whaling’ campaigns worldwide.” The campaign aims to raise awareness of the need to stop hunting Whales as the species die out.

Once complete, the whale will be displayed in a parade on May 31 as part of the Big Splash event and will later be permanently displayed at a venue in Newport. International mosaic artists at the workshop last Saturday included Se Van Weert who flew in from Holland especially and Rachel Silver from New Zealand and Tamara Froud from London. The lucky winner of the naming competition will win a prize from Newport Bus to win one of Newport Bus' new day trips, for up to five family members to a destination of their choice.

Labour councillor for Rogerstone, Chris Evans said: “Whaley’s story is really heart warming, and fascinated me and my little girl, Poppy. Let’s hope loads of families get involved in giving her a name and a new mosaic coat.

“Let’s have some fun, and finish off ‘Newport Whale’s tale’ with a happy ending at this year’s Big Splash.”

Workshops will run at Project Space, 147 Commercial Street, Newport, from 10am–4pm on Saturday, May 17.