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In April 2021, Fusion Arts commissioned artist Tommy Watkins to produce a new mural on the wall structure in Manzil Way Gardens. The mural was about both recognising key workers and paying tribute to the strength of the local community.
Tommy’s mural can be viewed on the side of the wall that faces Manzil Way Gardens, Cowley Road, just across from East Oxford Health Centre. We are glad to have supported the creation of this piece and hope that it offers a message of optimism and appreciation to all who see it.
The NHS mural was the next stage in a series of collaborations commissioned by Fusion Arts with support from Oxford City Council for the stay safe murals project which begun in September 2020 with local artists producing three pieces of street art on walls around Oxford that spread the message of staying safe and looking after the local community.
The Manzil Way Gardens wall structure was originally created to display one of these three murals and was funded by Oxford City Council with particular support from Councillor Tom Hayes, who was keen to support the stay safe message and celebrate key workers. Fusion Arts also received funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, which helped make the murals possible.
Tommy’s mural represents a next phase in the Covid-19 community wall project, with his artwork giving thanks to and recognising the invaluable ongoing work of key workers, particularly within the NHS.
Click the images below to see how the mural evolved:
“A walk down Cowley Road is a treat for the senses; smells of delicious food from all over the world; sounds of many languages and accents, and sights to keep any coffee shop dweller occupied for hours! I wanted this mural to reflect the amazing energy and diversity of this important area of Oxford as a way to send a message of hope and gratitude to both the key workers of the NHS and local community”
“We are really glad to be continuing the Covid-19 murals project and supporting artists such as Tommy, working together to share positive messages of hope and togetherness with the community. Like Tommy, we feel strongly about supporting and celebrating the phenomenal endeavours of key workers and the wider community, particularly during this challenging time.”
In the future, we have plans to use the wall for a project with Oxfordshire mental health charity Restore, who are also based on Manzil Way. While this project is getting started and the pandemic continues, we felt it that it was important to keep producing community art with a COVID-19 focus. Tommy was given the choice of topic within that wider theme and has chosen to create an impactful mural intended to both boost morale and recognise the incredible efforts of key workers and the wider community.
Fusion Arts work with artists, groups and communities from across Oxfordshire and beyond to support a variety of imaginative and socially engaged projects.
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