Petition launched to restore Palestine refugee mural to Tynemouth Metro Station

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A petition has been launched to restore the Palestinian artwork in Tynemout Metro Station four months after its removal.

A petition has been launched to restore the Palestinian artwork at Tynemouth Metro Station after North Tyneside council removed it in 2023.

After hanging on the station wall since 2012, the mural was taken down in October in the wake of the conflict in the Middle East over fears someone would vandalise it.

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The art was created as part of the Shatila Street Art Project 2012, in which 10 children and three teachers from the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon, visited North Tyneside for sketching and spray-painting lessons.

Get the latest news, straight to your inbox, with a NewcastleWorld newsletter And now a petition has been launched to restore the mural to its home of over ten years.

Gary Spedding, campaign and petition organiser said: "The mural that was in place for over a decade without issue or incident shone a light on the incredible creativity of the Palestinian refugee teenagers who created it and their resilience in the face of hardships that are difficult for most of us to imagine. 

"I see the removal of this artwork as part of a wider effort to have the very existence of Palestinians erased from public view and consciousness. It is shameful that North Tyneside Council will not restore the mural to its rightful place in the local community despite a lot of engagement from local residents like myself on the issue."

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North Tyneside Council have maintained it will put the mural back up when the time is right.

"It is time to spell it out plainly that this is an example of anti-Palestinian racist and prejudice which we have also seen elsewhere in the United Kingdom. It is unacceptable," continues Spedding.

"That is why a group of local residents have come together to call for the restoration of this mural back on full display at Tynemouth Metro station. We are very concerned about the wider implications of this decision, it's impact on the local Palestinian community and all those visiting Tynemouth. It must be put back in place at the earliest possible time." The art was created alongside North Tyneside artists Faye Oliver and Anthony Downie and was initially only meant to hang for six months.

In response the the petition, a North Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “The conflict in the Middle East remains an incredibly sensitive issue and our thoughts are with anyone whose lives have been devastated because of the conflict.  

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 “North Tyneside Council’s priority remains to listen to and support residents in our Borough who have been affected by the conflict. We continue to do this through our Ethnic Diversity Community Taskforce and our voluntary and community sector. There are many voices in our Borough and as a Council that is proud to represent all of our residents it is important that we listen to them all.  

 “When there is an appropriate moment to explore the reinstatement of the artwork, we will start further conversations with impacted communities to make an informed decision about the mural’s future.”

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