Art-work at Nottingham Cliff

Art work at Nottingham Cliff
Art work at Nottingham Cliff

Story: Douglas Johnson

In twelve months since the shooting of Jonathan Matondo on Nottingham Rec, there have been community meetings, council meetings, extra police patrols, and a gang strategy. And everyone agreed something should be done in the Park.

Improvements to Nottingham Rec included a new shelter, paid for by the area panel and arranged by the Parks Department in conjunction with Green City Action, the Youth Council and young people in the area.

The Youth Views

Streetworx and the Young Advisors engaged a number of young people’s views and Casper Carr, a local artist and experienced youth worker, was commissioned to create their design. The Young Advisors said,

“The project’s main focus was to brighten up the park and produce meaningful art on the subject of gun and knife crime.It was designed this way as we felt it would be a daily reminder to all young people of some of the consequences of our actions and that carrying guns and knives is not a playground game.”

As the artist said,

“The spray-can art project in Burngreave was the young people’s thoughts on the past events and how they would like to remember their friends and family members who have passed away. The project has proved that there are some very intelligent young people in Burngreave who want to make a change for the greater good.”

Youth Shelter art
Youth Shelter art

Wider Community Views

Sadly, that wasn’t how it ended. It soon became the focus of criticism. Some people thought the style of the art would lead to more graffiti being added; others thought that images of grave-stones were inappropriate for a park where small children played. Ironically, at the same time, the police were reporting that they needed to focus their attention on children as young as six.

Following calls for its removal, the shelter is now being re-painted in a blander, less controversial design.


It seems that, as soon as the authorities took the decision to give young people a voice, they didn’t like what they heard. Youth Council members said,

“This artwork was one example of how our voices could be heard, only for us to be told to shut up. This wasn’t glamourisation; this was a cry for us to say, ‘look – we are putting our friends’ names on memorials when we should be putting them on birthday and Christmas cards.’”

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The content on this page was added to the website by Derrick Okrah on 2008-11-28 16:14:14.
The content of the page was last modified by Jamie Marriott on 2008-12-01 14:11:03.

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