Bob Marley would have been 77 today
Robert Nesta Marley (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981).
Legend. Singer, songwriter, and musician. A pioneer of reggae, his musical career was marked by fusing elements of reggae, ska, and rocksteady, as well as his distinctive vocal and songwriting. Marley's contributions to music increased the visibility of Jamaican music worldwide, and made him a global figure in popular culture.
Over the course of his career, Marley became known as a Rastafari icon, and he infused his music with a sense of spirituality. He is also considered a global symbol of Jamaican music and culture and identity, and gave vital support for democratic social reforms. He also supported legalisation of marijuana, and advocated for Pan-Africanism. T
his mural of Bob was painted in 2021 by Paul Curtis. The mural is located above Jam Down restaurant in New Ferry (Wirral). It formed part of the second phase of the New Ferry mural project. The image is a classic of Bob. He looks pensive and deep in his thoughts. The space for the mural was not ideal as space was limited and broken by windows. Bob's portrait has been centralised and is flanked by an abstract interpretation of the black, green and gold of the Jamaican flag.
The New Ferry Project was an idea that was mooted in 2018. New Ferry had suffered a change in fortunes for several years and the area had seen a slow decline. Then in 2017, there was a large explosion at a warehouse which ripped through the centre of the town, causing devastation to the nearby buildings and the community in general. In many ways, given the slow decline of the area, this explosion represented the lowest point. Since then, there has been a task force tasked with the recovery and rebuilding. The mural project was an idea put to the task force. Initially, there was some scepticism that the street art would be the right thin g to do. It was only thanks to the perseverance of Simon Crabtree and Mark Craig, who continually lobbied for the project, that phase 1 was finally given the
go ahead in 2020. Phase 1 included a row five shops which all agreed to having their upper walls painted. Designs were based on the shop owners’ requests. Although anything could be requested, most owners asked for something that reflected the product sold. The only restrictions were no text and no advertising. And so in the summer of 2020, five weeks was spent transforming these initial 5 shops. Thankfully, local residents and business owners universally approved of the work. The work also appeared on news reports on BBC and ITV and several newspapers. This media attention put New Ferry in a good light and the recovery task force were keen to extend the project.
Thus, in the spring of 2021, a second phase was approved. The second phase was much larger than phase one, comprising 12 new artworks. This time, there was a long list of shops requesting work. There was a lot of managing of designs, permits, admin and scheduling to account for. Phase 2 lasted 10 weeks in total. It was pretty exhausting and very eventful, but thankfully all the murals were delivered on time. It was another resounding success and the feedback was largely focused on how the spirit of the area was lifted by the splash of colour brought into town. I would like to thank all involved in making the project happen: Simon Crabtree, Mark Craig, Councillor Jo Bird and Alison McGovern MP. Also all the business owners who backed the project. I also want to especially thank all the people of New Ferry. They made me feel like an honorary citizen during the project and I really felt like a part of the community. If you visit New Ferry to see the murals, try and use some of the local businesses. They have had a hard time and your trade will mean a lot to them.
Click here to view the Bob Marley mural time lapse on Youtube, or head over the New Ferry Project page on the Street art page to view all the murals included in the project .
Head over to the shop to browse through prints of Paul's work that you can purchase yourself!