Racial Justice Street Art in Cork City

September 2023

NYCI Artist and Youth Work Residency Scheme between GroundFloor, YMCA Cork City Youth Service and MTU Creativity and Change artist Helen O’Keeffe. Supported by the Arts Council, NYCI, UBU and DCEDIY.

We created this mural because we passionately believe in racial justice and equality. We want to inspire others to challenge racism and discrimination and to join us in our mission to create inclusive communities where everyone feels welcomed, accepted and inspired by social justice and peace for all.

Over the course of 4 months, a group of 25 young GroundFloor participants from all over Cork worked with YMCA youth workers and artist Helen O’Keefe. Through meaningful conversations, values exploration and creative activities the theme of racial justice was considered. Many of the young people involved in the Street Art project had also participated in the youth-led Anti-Racist Summit in City Hall in May and through their involvement were inspired to take further action. 

Workshops with the artist Helen and YMCA youth workers including Zen Tshabangu and Emma Challacombe from GroundFloor and Deborah Oniah from the Global Youth Work team laid the groundwork for the young people to create a strong and ambitious piece of street art, on Drinan St. in Cork city. Fionnuala O’Connell and Raphael Olympio from Cork Migrant Centre encouraged the process and discussed the important work they have been involved in to make Cork an anti-racist county.

The young people involved spent a wonderful week working together to create the art piece ‘Cork For Racial Justice’ and there was great excitement and feedback from the public when we launched it at the end of July. “I learnt more from listening to people’s stories, while I haven’t experienced racism, I have experienced discrimination and this makes me feel that I want to build a better future for the next generation.The street art will start conversations that need to be started and I feel that this piece of art will encourage people to treat each other equally. It was really fun learning how to create stencils and spray painting and working with other young people to support each other to tell our stories.”

Tell Us Your Story

We want our street art to inspire conversation and so we want to hear your stories, whether they are experiences of discrimination and injustice or stories of inclusion, justice and hope. These stories will continue to inspire the young people we work with to creatively respond to the world we live in and work towards making it a better place. 

Complete our online form and tell us your story

YMCA Ireland’s values are that every YMCA is a place of welcome, opportunity, wellbeing, peace and justice. We feel that these values are well expressed through our Street Art. The aims of Ground Floor are to support young people between 15-25 to make friends, make and create together, make progress in their lives and make a difference in their communities.

GroundFloor is based in YMCA Cork, 11/12 Marlboro St.
Follow us on Instagram @groundfloorymca to find out more

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