Belfast-based street artist happy to have ‘symbolic’ mural featured in Eurovision final

Belfast-based Eoin McGinn, who goes by the name ‘Emic’ produced the sunflower street art last March, in tribute to Ukrainians displaced due to the invasion by Russia.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he said that Eurovision organisers contacted him a few months back and asked his permission to use footage of the mural for their visual postcard to introduce Ukraine’s entry on stage.

The international music show took place at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool on Saturday night, after the city was chosen to host the competition on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

“It’s nice that they thought to include my artwork,” said Emic.

“I think they were keen to link the UK with Ukraine because obviously they weren’t able to host the Eurovision.

“The art is still relevant. The war is still going on. If people see it as symbolic of what’s happening or it’s keeping it to the forefront of people’s minds a year and a bit into the war, it’s going to be beneficial for the people that are over there, having to suffer because of it.”

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He added that the concept for the mural itself came around quite fast, and his unveiling of it coincided with a fundraiser for Concern, the global rapid emergency response charity.

“It was all very quick. I knew artwork would get attention and I wanted to direct some of that attention towards helping the people of Ukraine out.

“We wanted the money to go towards the humanitarian effort to get people out of the east side of the country.”

It is painted on the side of a home on Harrow Street in the Holyland area of south Belfast and the fundraising effort was a joint collaboration with a group of the neighbourhood’s occupants.

Bríd Ruddy, spokesperson for the local residents’ association there, added that she was “thrilled” the sunflower piece was included in the Eurovision coverage, which was broadcasted to 160 million people worldwide.

“Belfast Holyland hits the headlines for all the right reasons!!” she continued.

“Thanks to Emic for working with us to support Ukraine peace in this way.”

‘Forzan’ artwork located in Gresham Street, Belfast © Courtesy of the artist SANCHO (Sebastian Medina B.) from Colombia

Other Belfast-based art featured in the Eurovision footage was a piece called ‘Force’ by Sancho Medina, a Columbian creator that has added a splash of Latin America colour to the car park in the city’s North Street.

His mural features a young woman and parrot overlooking the urban landscape, and he painted it in 2018 during an international art exchange, in which he came to NI and Emic travelled to South America.

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