A mural by a Belfast street artist in tribute to displaced Ukrainians has been selected as one of Graffiti Art Magazine’s renowned Murals Of The Year.
Emic, aka Eoin McGinn, painted a sunflower in tribute to Ukrainians displaced due to the invasion by Russia.
Graffiti Art Magazine’s Guide to Urban Contemporary Art 2022 showcases 12 murals of the year.
The murals were compiled by Street Art Cities, a website and mobile app dedicated to excellence in the art form.
Each month Street Art Cities runs a ‘Best Of’ competition which features a shortlist of 100 newly painted murals that fans, photographers, bloggers and critics vote on. Emic’s sunflower was picked from the 100 shortlisted murals for March.
Emic, who has been practising as a street artist since 2013, said he was honoured to be included along with some of the world’s best murals painted this year.
“With art the success is always in the making of the work, but it was a nice surprise to be included in the shortlist in the first place – to come out on top was something I never would have expected,” he said.
“The mural was painted without a budget to raise money for charity that myself and a group of residents in the Holylands put together.
“The group got in touch about doing something to show solidarity with Ukrainians – we had worked together on another project so there was a good level of trust between us. They were happy to give me creative freedom which I was very thankful for.”
The mural is located on Harrow Street in the Holylands, Belfast, and is one of a number of new murals popping up in the area.
Local resident Brid Ruddy said she is very happy with the impact the artworks are having.
“As volunteers working in an inner-city area experiencing urban dereliction, co-working with Emic has brightened and lightened our task,” she said.
“It highlighted that art is integral to regeneration. It challenged the negative image of the Holylands in Belfast and enabled us to express support for Ukraine through a beautiful dramatic sunflower that is living art.
“We love it and the increased number of people travelling to see the mural appear to love it too.”
Tim Marchang, chief community manager of Street Art Cities, added: “Through the ‘Best of’ series, Street Art Cities aims to promote urban art from all over the world. Instead of picking a top 10 ourselves, forcing us to make tough choices, we look to our community.
“Every month we select 100 fresh and new murals and let our audience decide through a series of Instagram polls.
“Street Art Cities is the biggest global street art database and together we’re on a mission to promote and document all urban art in the world.
“Thanks to our hunter community we’re active in more than a thousand cities and with over 40,000 artworks, we’re one of the fastest growing street art platforms of the moment.”