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Murals celebrating women go on display in Knowsley town and village centres

by Alison Cornmell

Three vibrant and powerful murals have been painted by female artists as part of a project that empowers women.

The murals were painted by local artists, Hannah Jones, Jo Eyles and Gill Smith and feature motifs that represent the strength and power of all women.

On display in Huyton Village Centre, Prescot and Kirkby Town Centres the paintings were commissioned as part of a Knowsley initiative to help women and girls feel safer on a night out in our town centres.

A painted mural on a wall depicting women of all kinds under the banner reading 'Stronger Together'
Huyton mural, by Gill Smith
A painted mural depicting the silouette of a women flexing her muscles.
Prescot mural, by Hannah Jones
Lady walks past mural depicting images of women with the word 'Celebrate' at the top
Kirkby mural, by Jo Eyles

Gill Smith, artist, said:

“I wanted to create a mural of strong, diverse women to raise awareness of this initiative that supports the safety of women at night.

 

“While I was painting it I was approached by so many people and together we talked about their views and experiences of female safety. Painting the mural was particularly special when school children would come over and even helped me paint. The process of making the mural demonstrated the power art has to bring people together and I hope even now it’s finished it continues to generate discussions and unite people.”

SAFETY OF WOMEN AT NIGHT

The funding for the artwork comes from the Home Office who last year awarded Knowsley £190,000 to fund a project to improve the safety of women and girls at night in the borough.

The investment has funded:

  • Additional policing resources, specifically during the evening in Huyton, Prescot and Kirkby where there is a growing night-time economy
  • The Ask for Angela initiative which has trained bars, restaurants front of house staff and taxi drivers to support women when they feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened.
  • Specialist training to educate young people on the importance of preventing violence against women and girls.

A Knowsley Council spokesperson said:

“We have used the funding to create long term change and address negative behaviour as well as tackle any issues as they happen. Significantly, these beautiful murals start a conversation about the importance of female safety and highlight the work being done in Knowsley. We hope people take the time to look at these artworks and we encourage people to post your pics on social media and tag Knowsley Council.”

MEET THE ARTISTS

Hannah Jones (Prescot Mural)
Hannah graduated with a Fine Art degree in 2008, her work was mainly painting, printmaking and installation. From 2008 until 2010 she volunteered for the Liverpool Biennial, worked at The Bluecoat, a contemporary arts centre, and taught art to teenagers in a Pupil Referral Unit. In 2008 and 2009 Hannah was invited to participate in the Superlambanana and Go Penguins public art projects.

From 2010 Hannah became a full-time freelance community artist, delivering art workshops in various settings, but predominantly primary schools. Hannah often helps schools to make large-scale long-lasting artworks, such as murals or mosaics. She has also made willow sculptures that became multi person costumes for festivals.

Find out more on Hannah’s website www.hannahtheartist.co.uk

Jo Eyles (Kirkby Mural)
Jo is a Liverpool-based Visual Artist, DJ, and Educator. She studied and taught Music and Drama, before obtaining B.A. Fashion and Textiles from Liverpool John Moore’s University.  Jo’s love of pattern is evident throughout her work, as is her expressive use of form and colour, and her experimentation with a wide variety of materials. She is known for her graphic, repeat patterns and mixed-media collages, as well as for her figurative paintings and sculptural pieces.

Jo has worked on numerous community arts projects and is a keen advocate for social justice. She endeavours to limit the environmental impact of her work by using sustainable and recycled materials wherever possible, often recycling old cardboard boxes gathered from local businesses.

Find her on Instagram @The_Joy_Perspective

Gill Smith (Huyton Mural)
Gill is a Liverpool based illustrator. She completed an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at The Cambridge School of Art in 2019 and was shortlisted for The Batsford Prize and a winner of the Picture This illustration competition in 2020. She has illustrated Maria’s Island (2021) by bestselling author Victoria Hislop and recently, Saving the Butterfly (2022) by award winning author, Helen Cooper both published by Walker Books. At present, she is working on another picture book by David Almond to be published by Walker Books in 2023.

Alongside her illustrative work, Gill continues her work within education and community arts. She is committed to working with organisations who co create with communities in a meaningful way.

Find out more on Gill’s website www.gillsmithillustration.com