A THOUSAND ceramic shoes have been created in an art project to mark the Chartism movement in Newport.
Over 300 pupils from seven schools across the city took part in the project to create the shoes, which were unveiled yesterday in a moving ceremony.
Some of them have been placed along Stow Hill, from St Woolos Cathedral to Westgate Square.The shoes have been placed in different locations, including in the Pen and Wig pub and the Share Centre. There are also ceramic sandals, which have been made by refugees in Newport in conjunction with the Sanctuary Project, and red shoes, which represent the Chartists that were shot on November 4, 1839.
The project – called In Our Footsteps – was launched at St Woolos Cathedral yesterday, before children marched down Stow Hill to Westgate Square, giving participants a chance to view the new artworks.
These also include a plaque remembering squares across the world where there have been uprisings.
When reaching the site of the massacre outside the Westgate Hotel, a Chartist Milestone was unveiled and 22 purple balloons were released in memory of the killed Chartists.
Dylan Moore, the lead artist for the project, said: “We do not know exactly how many Chartists there were, but there are about 1,000 ceramic shoes which have been made by pupils from schools across Newport.
“The Sanctuary Project, which works with refugees, also got involved. We have given the shoes to groups who wanted to put them on display, from pubs to churches.”
Mr Moore said the idea is that the journey continues and that they are planning to go to Downing Street in June, after the election, with the shoes representing Lady Rhondda, a suffragette.
Councillor Gail Giles, cabinet member for education and skills, said in her speech: “What a fantastic morning we have had celebrating our history.
“Making Newport a city of democracy has a great potential to make us stand out from the crowd.”
The councillor for Caerleon suggested hosting a festival of democracy or launching a 21st century People’s Charter. “Our goal is to have the highest turnout in elections,” she said.
The project was commissioned and managed by Newport Live, and co-funded by the Chartist Commission and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Gillian Mitchell, head of theatre, arts & culture at Newport Live, said: “This is a fantastic project that demonstrates the kind of work that Newport Live regularly engages in with schools and community groups. We’re passionate about engaging with and supporting people within the local area, and are very proud of In Our Footsteps.”
The schools that took part in the project were Alway Primary, Maindee Primary, Pillgwenlly Primary, St Woolos Primary, John Frost school, Marshfield Primary and Caerleon Comprehensive.