Acclaim for artists as mural brightens up Chesterton

PUBLISHED: 07:52 04 September 2017

Artists with mural - Chesterton Road, Cambridge, from left Samirah Khan, Dan Biggs, Sa'adiah Khan . Picture: Keith Heppell

Artists with mural - Chesterton Road, Cambridge, from left Samirah Khan, Dan Biggs, Sa'adiah Khan . Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

Three local artists have completed a stunning mural in Chesterton - and they had a lot of fun along the way

Detail from the mural shows tribute - embedded within the wing - to 'Darren AS (19)76-94', which Sa'adiah Khan drew in following a conversation with a passer-by. Picture: Keith HeppellDetail from the mural shows tribute - embedded within the wing - to 'Darren AS (19)76-94', which Sa'adiah Khan drew in following a conversation with a passer-by. Picture: Keith Heppell

A colourful new mural painted by three local artists on a Chesterton wall has prompted a hugely positive response both on social media and from passers-by.

The public artwork, next to the Co-Op at the junction of Green End Road and Milton Road, was painted by twins Sa’adiah and Samirah Khan, along with Dan Biggs – all originally from Mill Road – as part of a project initiated by Chesterton Community Association, and grant-funded by Cambridge City Council.

The artists conducted a series of workshops a year ago with local residents, Brown’s Field Youth and Community Centre and Eddie’s – a local charity for people with learning disabilities – to inform the theme of the design.

“What came back from the workshop was that people wanted to see something colourful,” said Sa’adiah of the process. “It took quite a long time planning but a lot of it is going with the flow too.”

The artists sign off their work on the corner of Milton Road and Green End Way. Picture: Keith HeppellThe artists sign off their work on the corner of Milton Road and Green End Way. Picture: Keith Heppell

“People wanted something nice and happy,” added Samirah.

“Nature always does it best,” said Dan. “There’s not enough public art – what’s good about something like this is that it lets people see you’re doing it, and the public get engaged and are asking ‘What’s going on here?’ and ‘Have you thought about doing one in another part of town?’.”

Dan, a signwriter as well as an artist, enjoyed the process of working in public with others.

“It’s important for artists to connect with each other,” he says.

From left are Samirah Khan, Dan Biggs and Sa'adiah Khan, who completed the mural behind them in two weeks in August . Picture: Keith HeppellFrom left are Samirah Khan, Dan Biggs and Sa'adiah Khan, who completed the mural behind them in two weeks in August . Picture: Keith Heppell

However, he was a bit surprised by some of the working practices involved in the two-week painting schedule which began earlier this month.

“I just shouted out at people as they walked past,” explained Sa’adiah. “‘What do you love?’ And someone said ‘Guitars’ so I put a guitar in. One couple came by and wanted to make a donation in remembrance of their son whom they’d lost. I couldn’t accept that but I painted a butterfly into the design and put ‘Darren AS (19)76-94’ in one of the wings.

“It’s what we want to do, and I didn’t just want to paint Paisleys anyway.”

“Putting three artists together is always going to be interesting,” added Dan, “and the Co-Op has been fabulous to us.”

Cllr Anna Smith, Cambridge City Council’s executive councillor for streets and open spaces, said: “I’m delighted that the council was able to support this project.

“Not only has it provided a great opportunity to artists from Cambridge to showcase their work publicly, but it has also enabled us to respond to calls from the local community association to brighten up the area.”

Michael Bond, treasurer of Chesterton Community Association, said: “Chesterton Community Association (CCA) has been happy to help make this project happen. As treasurer it fell to me to make the grant bid and to support the team of artists to deliver the mural.

“To see it finally take shape, and to hear of the public interest in it brightened up a very damp day. We are pleased that the council were willing to support this locally- inspired project and look forward to passers-by enjoying the result for a long time to come.”

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