Street Art at Strand Arts Centre

Cinemagoers are used to watching movie stars 30 feet high on the silver screen, but now at the Strand Arts Centre in East Belfast you can also see them on the exterior wall of the building.

Street artist Emic was commissioned to create a new piece celebrating the Strand’s claim to fame as the oldest cinema in Northern Ireland. The artwork features an image of Shirley Temple and James Dunn in Bright Eyes, the first film screened at the Strand in 1935. And staying true to the movies, the piece itself will be in 3D.

The artwork is part of the Strand Stories project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund that aims to record, cherish and promote the social and architectural heritage of the Strand. Over two years ‘Strand Stories’ will engage with a wide range of people in East Belfast and beyond, creating lots of opportunities to share memories of this landmark building and illustrating its special place within the local community.

Based in Belfast at Vault Artist studios, Emic is leading a new wave of murals in the city that are re-identifying the communities of Northern Ireland. He has been making Street Art and exhibiting locally and internationally since 2012. Combining photorealism with abstraction, Emic uses aerosol paints and wheat pastes to create his urban artworks.

Strand Arts Centre CEO Mimi Turtle said:

“This creative project highlights and celebrate the heritage of our wonderfully iconic 1930s venue and its place within East Belfast. It is significant that the artwork is on the Pims Avenue side of the building. You can look down towards the Samson and Goliath cranes and see the evolution of Titanic Quarter from shipbuilding to filmmaking today. The Strand has been here throughout all those decades of change. It was to the Strand that many shipyard workers went on a Saturday night during the heyday of both cinema and Harland & Wolff. And many of the young people we work with on our skills development courses are inspired to enter a career in the creative industries.”

“We’re not just the pictures anymore at the Strand. Thanks to our core funders Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council we have been able to meet evidenced need for additional arts provision in East Belfast. And we are in the process of trying to secure the funding for a major refurbishment. This will enable us to celebrate our cinematic and architectural heritage but also provide better front of house, rehearsal, performance and workshop spaces so we can do much more.

“We are delighted with the finished piece by Emic. And thanks to his unique 3D painting style, people will be able to view the artwork as normal or by asking our staff for a pair of retro 3D glasses to see the piece in all its glory.”

Photos by Matt Mackey / Press Eye

Emic biography

Emic is an artist based in Belfast, Northern Ireland and has been active since 2012. The Artist paints primarily on walls using aerosol. His artwork combines photorealism with abstraction. Known mainly for his use of hands; his artwork is driven by ideas based around urbanism and mankind’s place within the world. Emic has painted in the UK, Europe and South America including cities London, Berlin and Santiago de Cali. In his hometown of Belfast, Emic is leading a new wave of murals in the city that are re-identifying the communities of Northern Ireland.

Strand Arts Centre, 1 Strand Studios, 152-154 Holywood Road, BELFAST BT4 1NY | Phone: (028) 9065 5830

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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.