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Mandela8 unveils mural commemorating Leroy Cooper

4 weeks ago

The artwork created by John Culshaw, famous for his range of murals across the City of Liverpool has added to Granby Street’s growing status as a cultural arts corridor of Liverpool 8.

Locals have seen the mural, commissioned by Mandela8, develop day-by-day on the feature wall of the Granby Adult Learning Centre with a wave of excitement building over the past few weeks until its completion.

The end result is a stunning tribute with a strong message from Leroy himself:

“My work is my legacy, photographs, painting, poetry and philosophy…. Self respect and dignity… But… love is everything”.

Sonia Bassey MBE, Chair of Mandela8 said:

“This has been a while in development behind the scenes. Leroy Cooper was an innovative and creative man, way ahead of his time in his thinking, and he documented the people of Liverpool – Liverpool 8 in particular – for over 40 years. There is no other photographic records of the Black community like Leroy’s and that deserves recognition. The stunning mural of Leroy adds to the work Mandela8 has been doing to change the face and fabric of Liverpool 8 and how it’s perceived. It is a fitting tribute to Leroy and his family, installed before the first anniversary of his passing. May Leroy continue to rest in peace and his family take comfort in knowing Leroy was well respected in our community and will always be remembered for his work and ability to hold love in his heart.

They are delighted that Liverpool City Council allowed them to use this wall for the mural. John Culshaw is an amazingly talented artist, and it has been a privilege for Mandela8 to work with him again. They have already seen a real excitement about the work developing and they envisage – like all John’s work – it will become another major attraction for visitors”.

The completion of the new mural comes ahead of the anniversary of Leroy’s passing and as his family have just been informed that Leroy’s photographic exhibition in the Museum of Liverpool has been extended for a further 6 months.

Stephen Nze, Mandela8 Ambassador, who has been leading site management said:

“It’s been a pleasure and an honour for us at Mandela8 and for me personally to have worked on this project of one of the most influential individuals of my generation and our community, and it is fitting that it is located on Granby Street where a lot of Leroy’s influences and creativity and artwork were manifested and then unleashed on our city. Leroy was a one of a kind, and we all knew him and he knew us all. Rest easy bro in that cosmic heavenly universe”.

Leroy’s Family said:

“As a family, we are extremely proud and honoured that Leroy has been recognised in this way. This mural is a perfect way to represent and pay homage to Leroy’s contribution to his art, community and Liverpool. As a creative, Leroy would have been immensely proud that his peers, friends and community have paid tribute in this manner and we as his family are eternally grateful to the people of L8 and proud of the artistic achievement Leroy accomplished in his life. We hope this mural can inspire a younger generation to follow their passions the same way Leroy followed his because he never stopped dreaming and he would want the next generation to dream equally as big.

Find more information on the Mandela8 website.

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