Southampton artists takes centre stage in train station mural debut

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20 December 2023

GO! Southampton and Southampton City Council are working alongside local artists to commission a striking new mural at Southampton Central Train Station.

The artwork, created by Poppy Ash, aims to showcase the city’s vibrant culture and offer an exciting welcome to visitors as they arrive at Southampton. This ongoing project, supported by John Hansard Gallery, Southampton Forward and Network Rail, will provide a permanent exhibition space for the works of talented local artists, hoping to nurture the community’s homegrown artistic talent.

The artwork is being hand painted on the side of the railway bridge stairs on the South side of the station. The artwork is intended to complement the new improvements at the south side of the station.

Earlier this year, John Hansard Gallery held a competition for a local artist to have their work showcased on the Gallery’s building. Although not the winner, the standard was so high that the Gallery wished to explore other options with Poppy and partners in the city to showcase the piece. The artwork has been redesigned to fit its new home at the station.

Poppy Ash studied at Solent University and her work is now commissioned nationally by a wide range of clients. Poppy said: “I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to share my artwork and celebrate the wonderful places and activities that Southampton has to offer. I have so many great memories attached to Southampton, from University to friends and involvement in the local art collective, ZEST. I’m excited to see how it transforms the space and can’t wait to see how it evolves to spotlight the work of other local artists.”

Poppy is working alongside Callum Young, Muralist and Founder of LICC Design Co. to transform the digital artwork into a physical creation. Callum Young said “It is great to be able to use my experience in mural painting, to bring this design to life. It is always exciting to do artist collaborations, especially in the city I grew up and live.”

Stephen Manion, Executive Director, GO! Southampton said: “This is all part of GO! Southampton’s wider plans and ambitious programme of work that aims to create a better city centre experience, as well as allowing artists to flourish and creativity to flow throughout the city.

“When visitors come into the city, this artwork gives them a real flavour of Southampton. We wanted the artwork to be exciting and to represent the city. It’s why Poppy and Callum are great choices.

“We’re hoping it will be enjoyed by visitors and residents.”

Poppy and Callum’s piece is the first phase of an exciting new opportunity that will welcome new and experienced artists to submit their work and have the chance to feature on the wall next year and beyond. The selected artwork will be a community-led process, inviting the public to vote for their favourite.

The first mural is set to be completed by the end of January 2024. Further details about the project including how artists can submit their interest for future installations can be found on the John Hansard Gallery website

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