Spray for Justice

(April 12, 2013)


Hillsborough artworks go on display at Museum for 24th anniversary

The Museum of Liverpool will be marking this year’s Hillsborough anniversary with a display ofart commemorating the 1989 tragedy.

Works by artists Alan Wynne and Leigh graffiti artist Gecko will displayed in two areas of the Museum as a tribute and memorial to those people who lost their lives at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forrest on 15 April 1989.

Gecko’s work Spray for Justice is a unique and moving display, including the main piece From the Heart, which comprises 96 canvases each representing an individual who lost their life at Hillsborough.

Graffiti artist Gecko created the display in memory of his friend Carl Brown from Leigh, who died at Hillsborough when he was 18. Graffiti artist Gecko has used spray paint and stencils tocreate layers of images including the iconic Liver Bird in a range of reds. A number on each canvas represents the age of the victims, and the pink canvases represent the young women who died, including two Hicks sisters.

Also on display is a piece created by contemporary mosaic artist Alan Wynne, which was given to the Hillsborough Family Support Group following the release of the Independent Panel reportin September 2012.

The mosaic of 96 x 96 tiles called United for Justice features an iconic image which was taken during Everton Football Club’s tribute to the 96 during their home game against Newcastle on Monday 17 September 2012. The artwork depicts eight-year-old Liverpool fan Michael Clarke holding the hand of 11-year-old Evertonian Beth Garner-Watt on the pitch at Goodison.

Using Bissaza Italian glass tiles, it took approximately six weeks to complete. The Hillsborough Family Support Group have donated the mosaic so that it can be displayed in the Museum of Liverpool as a thank you from them to the people of Liverpool for their help and support.

Janet Dugdale, Director of the Museum of Liverpool said: “United for Justice is an inspirational piece, featuring an image which, for many people represents an historic moment in the fight for justice for the families of those who lost their lives at Hillsborough.

“We are proud to have it on display in the Wondrous Place gallery at the Museum of Liverpool, which is dedicated to the memory of the 96. Spray for Justice, is another artist’s personal response to Hillsborough. It is an emotional tribute, and we are grateful to those who have enabled this piece to go on display in the Museum in time for the 24th anniversary of this terrible tragedy, which will never be forgotten by the people of Liverpool and across the world.”

The Spray for Justice display, which will be exhibited on the first floor of the Museum ofLiverpool, also features a painting called Recognition, which includes portraits of Leigh MP Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram MP for Walton, and Rt Rev James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, who chairs the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh said: “This eloquent work says so much more than a thousand words from people like me ever can.

"We all talk too easily of 'the 96' as if they were one and the same. Yes, they were united by a love of Liverpool Football Club. But we forget that they were 96 individuals, from 96 loving families, at different stages of their lives, with different hopes and dreams. This work by Gecko powerfully captures that, balancing the collective with the deeply personal.

"It is a source of pride to me that a Leigh artist, in memory of a Leigh lad, is helping lead the city's commemorations of the 24th anniversary. Hillsborough was primarily Liverpool's tragedy but it was Leigh's too."

Steve Rotheram said: "The campaign for justice for the 96 has taken huge steps forward in the last twelve months with the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report, the quashing of the original unsound accidental death verdicts and an apology from the Prime Minister for the 'double' injustice of the tragedy.

For the first time in almost a quarter of a century, momentum is with the families and campaigners and that is quite simply because the city of Liverpool never gave up.

So as we prepare to mark the 24th anniversary of one of the biggest losses of British life on British soil in any one day since the second World War, knowing that justice is coming, the exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool provides a poignant tribute and reminder to all visitors ofthe dark cloud that has hung over our great city, but which as long last is beginning to lift".

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