Forum seeking ideas to replace Newport Chartist mural

TORN DOWN: The Chartist Mural which was demolished last year

Forum seeking ideas to replace Newport Chartist mural

Forum seeking ideas to replace Newport Chartist mural

Forum seeking ideas to replace Newport Chartist mural

First published in Gwent news

AN EXACT replica of what was “stolen from us”, a march from the Valleys into Newport, and digital projections on to the Riverfront are some of the ways people want to see the Chartist mural replaced.

At a public meeting of Newport Civic Society on Thursday, the floor was open to anyone with an idea for a replacement for the mural in John Frost Square depicting the Chartist march of 1839, which was demolished by the council amid public furore last October, days before a planned demonstration to save it. Many favoured a replica as close as possible to the original artwork.

The meeting came after Newport council announced that Dr Rowan Williams, Newport West AM Dame Rosemary Butler and Pat Drewett would serve on a new commission to look for a replacement to the mural.

David Hando, from the Civic Society, described the destruction as “municipal vandalism” and said such a replica could be placed “on Commercial Street, almost opposite the Westgate Hotel up on the facia of British Home Stores.”

The Westgate Hotel, where 22 Chartists were shot dead after demanding democracy, is the centre of the city’s Chartist history.

Many supported Mr Hando, with one man saying he wanted to see the mosaic mural rebuilt piece by piece as it had been “stolen from us”.

But mosaic artist Stephanie Roberts said this might not be possible as Oliver Budd, the son of the mural’s creator, might be hesitant to hand over the full images as he was unhappy with the way the mural’s destruction was handled. She also estimated it could cost upwards of £200,000 to rebuild the mural in weatherproof materials.

Mohamed (corr) Miah, a lecturer at the University of South Wales and digital producer, suggested the Chartist story could be animated and videos projected on to walls in the city which could be “six times the size” of the original mural.

Peter Rawcliffe, who headed the Save Our Mural campaign, said he believed the remains of the Chartist mural were being stored in a container at a refuse site in Maesglas, with a final decision yet to be taken on what will happen to them.

He added that there was no reason for only one memorial or representation to be commissioned as a replacement. He said: “We need something which is bright, which can be outside, which everybody can look at.” He talked about tapestries depicting the Chartist story which could be produced by local artists. Others suggested a large scale reconstruction of the march into Newport from the Valleys, which could possibly be televised.

Tom Evans, from Malpas, said there was a danger of artwork being designed “by committee” and suggested a competition to find the best idea could promote creativity.

Chrissie Turner Wilson, from the Save Our Mural campaign, said any action had to be taken quickly as the 175th anniversary of the Chartist march is in November. She added: “We have the NATO conference happening in September. What better time to show the world Newport’s dedication to democracy?”

Nick Webb, co-chairman of the Civic Society, summing up the meeting, said: “Chartism was about people power. It’s important the views of ordinary residents of Newport feed through.”

Comments (6)

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1:06pm Sat 15 Feb 14

DavidMclean says...

A digital projection or digital wall? What a rediculous idea, and here's why...

1. The Riverside used to be lit up with coloured spotlights. A few bust bulbs or budget considerations and it's all to easy to leave it switched off.

2. So we don't want something that can be viewed in daylight, only at night?

3. Technology dates. If we had done a digital wall in the 80s or 90s it would have been created using 4:3 ratio CRT monitors which would look progressively naff and dated as 16:9 ratio, then flatscreen, then hi-def overtook it. The cost of constantly replacing technology would be prohibitive.

4. The ongoing cost of maintenance and electricity. It would be the first thing sacrificed during budget cuts.

5. Content dates. The 3D animation in Dire Straits 'Money for Nothing' is rubbish compared to Toy Story 3, so unless we want to keep paying for new content, it will become increasingly naff and dated.

6. Make no mistake, anything digital or projection WILL be hijacked and advertising will be introduced.

But ultimately it's the idea that it can only be seen after dark. So that means no young kids will see it, and it's audience will be passing cars and Saturday night drunks.

A digital wall/projection would be worst idea.

I'm not surprised a lecturer is suggesting it. No danger of vested interest there ;-)
A digital projection or digital wall? What a rediculous idea, and here's why... 1. The Riverside used to be lit up with coloured spotlights. A few bust bulbs or budget considerations and it's all to easy to leave it switched off. 2. So we don't want something that can be viewed in daylight, only at night? 3. Technology dates. If we had done a digital wall in the 80s or 90s it would have been created using 4:3 ratio CRT monitors which would look progressively naff and dated as 16:9 ratio, then flatscreen, then hi-def overtook it. The cost of constantly replacing technology would be prohibitive. 4. The ongoing cost of maintenance and electricity. It would be the first thing sacrificed during budget cuts. 5. Content dates. The 3D animation in Dire Straits 'Money for Nothing' is rubbish compared to Toy Story 3, so unless we want to keep paying for new content, it will become increasingly naff and dated. 6. Make no mistake, anything digital or projection WILL be hijacked and advertising will be introduced. But ultimately it's the idea that it can only be seen after dark. So that means no young kids will see it, and it's audience will be passing cars and Saturday night drunks. A digital wall/projection would be worst idea. I'm not surprised a lecturer is suggesting it. No danger of vested interest there ;-) DavidMclean
  • Score: 1

4:49pm Sat 15 Feb 14

GardenVarietyMushroom says...

I agree with DM above regarding the digital wall. I'm in favour of recreating the original myself... and if it costs £200k then deduct it from the salaries, and benefits, and pensions of all the numpties involved in the demolition.

What I'm still wondering though, is why the council prematurely ripped it off a wall, that a few weeks later got blown apart by explosives? I strongly suspect the reason was to head off any 'Save the Mural' campaign.
I agree with DM above regarding the digital wall. I'm in favour of recreating the original myself... and if it costs £200k then deduct it from the salaries, and benefits, and pensions of all the numpties involved in the demolition. What I'm still wondering though, is why the council prematurely ripped it off a wall, that a few weeks later got blown apart by explosives? I strongly suspect the reason was to head off any 'Save the Mural' campaign. GardenVarietyMushroom
  • Score: 1

5:36pm Sat 15 Feb 14

Mohamad Fez Miah says...

DavidMclean wrote:
A digital projection or digital wall? What a rediculous idea, and here's why...

1. The Riverside used to be lit up with coloured spotlights. A few bust bulbs or budget considerations and it's all to easy to leave it switched off.

2. So we don't want something that can be viewed in daylight, only at night?

3. Technology dates. If we had done a digital wall in the 80s or 90s it would have been created using 4:3 ratio CRT monitors which would look progressively naff and dated as 16:9 ratio, then flatscreen, then hi-def overtook it. The cost of constantly replacing technology would be prohibitive.

4. The ongoing cost of maintenance and electricity. It would be the first thing sacrificed during budget cuts.

5. Content dates. The 3D animation in Dire Straits 'Money for Nothing' is rubbish compared to Toy Story 3, so unless we want to keep paying for new content, it will become increasingly naff and dated.

6. Make no mistake, anything digital or projection WILL be hijacked and advertising will be introduced.

But ultimately it's the idea that it can only be seen after dark. So that means no young kids will see it, and it's audience will be passing cars and Saturday night drunks.

A digital wall/projection would be worst idea.

I'm not surprised a lecturer is suggesting it. No danger of vested interest there ;-)
Hi David,

should explain, the ideas was to recreate the poignant story of the uprising into a short animation piece to help educate young people about a pivotal moment in Newport history. The piece could then be projected across newport onto building such as the Riverfront or the civic or even above bhs. The point about size was made surrounding the attendees wanting a large enough replacement to the original chartist mural. However as it was mentioned 50k will not be enough to produce something of the original size or even close sadly.

I am a fan of using that allocated money to help generate more funds with associated grants and some public fundraising to build several memorials of difference types and sizes ready for the 175th anniversary. Hope that clears up a bit. ps; The digital wall idea was one that has been floating around created by Keefa chan which I think is a great idea however the funds required to do such a project could only be funded by commercial means such as corporate and media sponsors etc where the upkeep of such a installation can be funded and maintained.
[quote][p][bold]DavidMclean[/bold] wrote: A digital projection or digital wall? What a rediculous idea, and here's why... 1. The Riverside used to be lit up with coloured spotlights. A few bust bulbs or budget considerations and it's all to easy to leave it switched off. 2. So we don't want something that can be viewed in daylight, only at night? 3. Technology dates. If we had done a digital wall in the 80s or 90s it would have been created using 4:3 ratio CRT monitors which would look progressively naff and dated as 16:9 ratio, then flatscreen, then hi-def overtook it. The cost of constantly replacing technology would be prohibitive. 4. The ongoing cost of maintenance and electricity. It would be the first thing sacrificed during budget cuts. 5. Content dates. The 3D animation in Dire Straits 'Money for Nothing' is rubbish compared to Toy Story 3, so unless we want to keep paying for new content, it will become increasingly naff and dated. 6. Make no mistake, anything digital or projection WILL be hijacked and advertising will be introduced. But ultimately it's the idea that it can only be seen after dark. So that means no young kids will see it, and it's audience will be passing cars and Saturday night drunks. A digital wall/projection would be worst idea. I'm not surprised a lecturer is suggesting it. No danger of vested interest there ;-)[/p][/quote]Hi David, should explain, the ideas was to recreate the poignant story of the uprising into a short animation piece to help educate young people about a pivotal moment in Newport history. The piece could then be projected across newport onto building such as the Riverfront or the civic or even above bhs. The point about size was made surrounding the attendees wanting a large enough replacement to the original chartist mural. However as it was mentioned 50k will not be enough to produce something of the original size or even close sadly. I am a fan of using that allocated money to help generate more funds with associated grants and some public fundraising to build several memorials of difference types and sizes ready for the 175th anniversary. Hope that clears up a bit. ps; The digital wall idea was one that has been floating around created by Keefa chan which I think is a great idea however the funds required to do such a project could only be funded by commercial means such as corporate and media sponsors etc where the upkeep of such a installation can be funded and maintained. Mohamad Fez Miah
  • Score: 0

6:54pm Sat 15 Feb 14

Indigo Pete says...

Although I am chair of Save Our Chartist Mural (SOCM) and although Chrissie Jane Turner Wilson, Mohemmed Miah (Fez) and Stef Roberts are all part of the SOCM campaign , we are also founders of NACHA Newport Art Culture and Heritage Association. It was as NACHA that we were participating in the meeting.
It is important the reporting is accurate especially as the destruction of the mural remains a very sore subject.

NACHA are committed to working with all groups and NCC to move forward in a procactive and positive way to raise Newport from the rubble of the recent past to a place its people can be ever increasingly proud of.
Although I am chair of Save Our Chartist Mural (SOCM) and although Chrissie Jane Turner Wilson, Mohemmed Miah (Fez) and Stef Roberts are all part of the SOCM campaign , we are also founders of NACHA Newport Art Culture and Heritage Association. It was as NACHA that we were participating in the meeting. It is important the reporting is accurate especially as the destruction of the mural remains a very sore subject. NACHA are committed to working with all groups and NCC to move forward in a procactive and positive way to raise Newport from the rubble of the recent past to a place its people can be ever increasingly proud of. Indigo Pete
  • Score: 1

7:45pm Sun 16 Feb 14

foxy3rd says...

I would like to see the replacement as close to the origial as possible,colourful , vibrant and easily understood by all ages.
Not surreal , but an interesting , informative visual feast , something for Neewport , Gwent and Wales to be proud of.
I would like to see the replacement as close to the origial as possible,colourful , vibrant and easily understood by all ages. Not surreal , but an interesting , informative visual feast , something for Neewport , Gwent and Wales to be proud of. foxy3rd
  • Score: 0

10:23am Mon 17 Feb 14

Ollie254 says...

How about using the money proposed on a replacement mural on re introducing a Meals on Wheels service for the elderly of Newport. This is in keeping with the aims and objectives of the Chartists who would probably not have gone a bundle on art work of any description before food for the poor.
How about using the money proposed on a replacement mural on re introducing a Meals on Wheels service for the elderly of Newport. This is in keeping with the aims and objectives of the Chartists who would probably not have gone a bundle on art work of any description before food for the poor. Ollie254
  • Score: 1

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