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City art funded by charity vandalised - for the ninth time

‘It’s so saddening to see the vandalism’ said Peterborough’s Diaspora Arts and Education Charity, after artwork they commissioned along the Taverner's Road underpass has been subjected to attacks nine times since it went up in July. 
diaspora 1
Charity has been left 'disappointed' after their commissioned Artwork by Peterborough's artist Charron Pugsley-Hill was destroyed ( picture: Karima Shah)

The charity promotes multiculturalism through arts and education, with a special focus on hard-to-reach communities and helps them communicate and engage positively. 

The team behind the organisation has expressed their disappointment over their work being targeted, calling it ‘disrespectful’. 

Recently, a unity mural commissioned by the charity created in November last year, by popular regional Street artist Nathan Nice received global acknowledgement during the Black Lives Matter protest. Sadly, this piece of art has also been damaged, with remarks left on it. 

Nearby a colourful depiction of nature created by another popular artist from the city Charron Pugsley-Hill has been vandalised with almost 75% of it peeled and destroyed in the recent attack.


diaspora 2Peterborough's Diaspora Arts Charity saddened after artwork vandalised repeatedly (Picture: Karima Shah)


Charity manager Karima Shah told Peterborough Matters that they visited the destruction on September 8. 

She said: "It’s really saddening to see someone do this. 

“We have worked hard to create this together with communities, especially in deprived areas of the city. We feel very passionately about subjects such as this and want to promote unity.

"So, to see incidents like these, it’s very disappointing and annoying. The funding we get is now dealing with the vandalism rather than creating more pieces. 

“We want to give out a message of hope through artworks like these. They have destroyed two-thirds of Charron's work. She is now recovering from a surgery and can’t come back any time soon to help us re-paint it. 

“They had all the free space on the wall next to these arts pieced that they could have used to express themselves if they wanted. 

“There was no need to destroy this beautiful artwork. We were lucky Charron did this for us. We wanted to give the gift of fine art to the community. That's what you have destroyed and taken away.  This was peaceful and uplifting, and that’s what you have destroyed. You took this joy of enjoying the artwork from others and the sad part is, that you don’t understand what you have done. That really saddens me.” 

The team from Diaspora has previously reported being targeted by anti-social activities while working on the artwork in the underpass area, following which Karima and her team said they were ‘threatened’ and felt ‘intimidated’. 

Members of different communities, both men and women, were angry over these incidents and began a ‘Take Back the Underpass’ campaign in June. They invited other residents, especially women to come and join the artists over a picnic and offer support to the charity, to ensure they can carry on working safely. 

Campaigners who came out in support recalled some of the incidents and said, ‘The youngsters here take drugs, deal drugs and cause disruption and don't want her to be there.’ 

Despite the setbacks, Diaspora Arts is continuing its work within the diverse communities in Peterborough and has lots in store. 

Talking about the upcoming projects, Karima said: “We are working with local young people on a variety of projects, including a mural with local organisation; Community First and are also in talks with other area leaders to install more artwork. We will be incorporating and educational programme providing tutoring for GCSE English, Science and Art, and Creative ESOL for adults. We are also developing projects to strengthen local communities and are keen to working with younger and older people."

You can also support the charity through donations via their funding page.



diaspora 3Mural commissioned by Diaspora charity and created by Street Art Hire was also vandalised last week (Picture: Karima Shah)