In October 2021, internationally recognised Irish visual artist Emmalene Blake set to work on a joyful, eye-catching mural at Quay Lane in Galway City, just across the road from the Spanish Arch. Unveiled as part of the 25th annual Baboro International Arts Festival for Children, ‘Our City Walls’ shines a light on the right of each and every child to enjoy and participate in a rich cultural life.
Thanks to a seven-month extension granted by Galway City Council, the mural will remain in situ for the 26th annual Baboró festival (14-23 October 2022).
Before Emmalene designed the mural, students from Galway city centre were invited by Creative Associate Phillida Eves to share how they feel about their rights, what they like to do in their free time and to imagine what life would be like without art and culture. The resulting design was inspired by the children’s insights, reflections and drawings.The aim of this project, part of Baboró’s 25th birthday celebrations, is to instill in local children an awareness of their rights, including the right to play and participate in cultural events, as well as boost pride in their community. School groups and families visited the mural throughout the 2021 festival, which took place from 4-17 October. The extended installation will allow even more Galway locals and visitors of all ages to enjoy the artwork.
Artist Emmalene Blake is perhaps best known for her striking, large scale murals which have appeared across Ireland and abroad in recent years. Her work is frequently socio-political, with recurring themes such as human rights, environmental issues, inequality, feminism, as well as pop culture and humour. She strongly believes in the power of public art as a means of reflecting the world and of engaging the wider public in conversations about culture and society.
Many thanks to Galway City Council for extending the mural’s installation until the end of October 2022.