Just days after Banksy’s artwork on a permanently raised Hull bridge brought widespread media attention to the city, one of the UK’s leading street artist duos has created a stunning mural of the city’s heritage and history at another significant landmark.
Unbeknown to most, the Nomad Clan - an internationally-acclaimed street-art muralist duo who create their work with spray paints, have spent the past week creating a homage to the history and heritage of East Hull – at the home of Hull Kingston Rovers.
The huge mural – which is more than 50 metres long and runs along either side of the tunnel and standing terrace of the Roger Millward Stand at KCOM Craven Park – has been created as a ‘stunning and lasting celebration of local history’.
Artists Joy Gilleard and Hayley Garner, who form the Nomad Clan, were labelled as 'one of street art’s finest female duos' by the world’s largest street art online publication Widewalls magazine, and 'Street arts hottest UK talent' by the Global Street Art blog.
The Guardian newspaper also named them as one of the ‘top five female street artists in the world’, and they have been brought to the city thanks to the ongoing relationship between the Art of Protest Gallery in York and Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell.
They recently worked together on the ‘Elephant in the Room’ project alongside the community trust run by Hudgell Solicitors – Mr Hudgell’s Hull-based law firm, which saw globally recognised artist Laurence Vallières create a life-sized cardboard creation of a family of elephants in Hull’s Humber Street in November.
Jeff Clark, founder and director of The Art of Protest Gallery, said: “We are delighted to be supporting another major project in Hull through our relationship with Neil and this time with the support of Hull Kingston Rovers, which has again brought world-renowned artists to the city.
“The work of Joy and Hayley as the Nomad Clan is both unmistakable and stunning. Each mural they create has a strong significance to the environment it sits within, usually combining playful scenes from local heritage with detailed portraits of characters from some of the tales and stories they hear about when researching the area.
“They have carried out extensive research into the past of East Hull and what has made that area of the city what it is today.
“Their main focus is to proudly celebrate local history, but on a deeper note their work often reflects upon socioeconomic issues in the area, for example the demise of local industries and jobs and the impact that has on communities.
“This piece of art will look to do that, and of course celebrate history, and there is no more fitting venue than KCOM Craven Park to do that given its place in the heart and importance to so many from that side of the city.”
Not only is this Nomad Clan’s first street art of 2018, but the mural will be the first major piece of street art commissioned in a sporting stadium in the UK.
Neil Hudgell, chairman of Hull Kingston Rovers, said: “We’re delighted that Hull KR has played its part in bringing the work of the Nomad Clan to Hull with this project.
“Having worked with Jeff and his team at the Gallery last year on a project with my firm, we had been talking about street art and murals for some time and this has been a long-time in the planning.
“Then, by a great coincidence, we had Banksy turn up in Hull last weekend to create such excitement in and around street art in Hull. It is like it was meant to be and the timing is perfect. Hull is clearly the place to be for street art!”
Nomad Clan’s last major project was in creating the tallest street art mural in the UK in Leeds, as part of the ‘A City Less Grey’ street art project at five sites in the city.
The ‘Athena Rising’ mural, an owl-based design which adorns the 12-storey high-rise Platform building, stands more than 150ft above the ground and can be seen by thousands of people passing through Leeds train station every day.
Their combined career successes have included projects as diverse as collaborations with Vans and Coors, exhibiting in West Yorkshire Sculpture Park, designing can artwork for a craft beer brewery and making history by creating a piece in the middle of St Paul’s Cathedral – a politically charged comment on the refugee crisis that went on to become the cathedral’s official Christmas card.
Banksy confirmed on his own Instagram account that the stencil artwork discovered on the permanently-raised Scott Street bridge in Hull last weekend, which depicts a young boy raising a sword-like pencil with the words “Draw the raised bridge!”, was his own work.