Portsmouth artist starts work on Somers Town-themed mural around boundary of condemned tower block

A CITY artist has started work on a new Somers Town-themed mural across the boundary walls of a tower set to be brought down.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 5:54 pm
Artist Skyla Swan with the start of her mural outside Horatia House

Computer animation student at the University of Portsmouth, Skyla Swan, has completed the first part of a 30-metre long piece to cover hoardings around Horatia House – just yards from where she grew up.

Skyla designed a mural as a way to celebrate the local area and she is now painting it along the Park Street stretch of the deconstruction site.

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The 21-year-old said: ‘The artwork is really important to me because I feel that it brightens up the community I live in.

‘When growing up in the area, I know I would have loved to see pieces like this. It would have made me enjoy spending time here, and I'm hoping to inspire more artwork to be created around Somers Town.’

It is planned the art will be a part of a wider project with Portsmouth City Council appealing for more local artists, schools, charities and community organisations to come forward to decorate the hoardings around Horatia, and the neighbouring Leamington House. The hoardings will also include the Somers Town self-portrait gallery with around 650 self-portraits by local children and adults.

As reported Horatia and Leamington House will be deconstructed piece by piece after the towers were deemed to be unsafe in 2018.

They will then be replaced with a minimum of 272 new council homes.

Councillor Darren Sanders, the council’s housing and preventing homelessness boss, said: ‘It's so important to us that the local community is involved in every stage of this project, and that local people see themselves reflected in it.

‘This is a great opportunity for us to celebrate Somers Town's character and identity, something that we aim to continue throughout the planned developments.’

If you would like to get involved in adding artwork to the boundary hoardings; please email [email protected]

Horatia House, in Meriden Road, will start to come down this autumn, and the first panels will start to come off Leamington House, in Earlsdon Street, in spring 2022. Both blocks will be down late next summer.

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