Peterborough’s Diaspora Arts and Education Charity, which promotes racial equality, has commissioned local artists including Steve Crowe, Rob Clarkson and Amanda Robertson to paint murals at several locations in the city, including some of the underpasses, over the last few weeks.
Crowe said: “I have been working with Diaspora to produce murals in Peterborough’s most vibrant multicultural areas.
“The aim is to transform run-down underpasses and walls by producing colourful art and portraying a message, relatable by the local community."
Another artist, Rob Clarkson, painted ‘Dragon of Good Fortune’, based on Chinese culture, at the Bourges Boulevard underpass.
He said: "I have just started working with Diaspora and have had a great time so far.
"I liked being involved with the Unity tunnel, as I am a firm believer of equality. The artwork is refreshing and has brought light to a very dark and unappealing underpass.
“I contributed to this underpass by painting a sci-fi landscape. This to me represents unity in a deep way. I hope my art makes people think about the universe and helps them in whatever journey they are on.”
Karima Shah, who runs the charity said: "We want to brighten up places especially with social isolation. We have picked the central locations at the minute to help promote positive tourism.
“We want these pieces to touch people's lives, want to give people strength. For example, a man walking by while we were painting the dragon piece said ‘just because you smiled at me, you saved me from breaking a three-year vow not to take heroin' [and] he threw away his needle. I thought to myself, 'I use my creativity instead of taking drugs'.
"Another day we were painting and some kids walking by said it would cool to see a mosque in the piece and we did it. We are trying to reflect what the local community wants and can relate to and promote positivity through arts in the community.
“The walkway conditions are quite bad as well, very dark - there's no light there. So we are trying to create a more colourful and refreshing atmosphere.
“We are being noticed for our work in Pakistan and Luxembourg. We have worked hard and helped raise the profile of [the] arts in Peterborough. It helps other artists grow and raise their profiles.
“We are in need of more paint so any support and donations towards our charity would be appreciated. We want to continue our work and promote positivity and help inspire people in the community.”
Pictures were provided by Amanda Robertson and Karima Shah.