Northern Ireland news

Video: Loyalist graffiti painted on peace wall photo exhibition

The Wall on Wall photo project on the Cupar Way peace line that has been written over with loyalist political slogans. Picture by Mal McCann

LOYALIST slogans have been painted over a major open-air art exhibition on a Belfast peace line.

Almost every panel of the massive Wall On Wall project, which runs the length of Cupar Way, has been defaced.

Much of the graffiti relates to claims that Protestant young people face barriers to higher education.

There has been a documented imbalance in university enrolments, with a higher proportion of Catholics attending.

The exhibition opened on the peace wall in west Belfast in September.

Now a tourist attraction, tens of thousands of visitors have signed their names on the wall that separates the Catholic Clonard and loyalist Shankill areas.

The Wall on Wall photo project on the Cupar Way peace line that has been written over with loyalist political slogans. Picture by Mal McCann

Wall On Wall includes 36 panoramas, showing borders from around the world, taken by photographer Kai Wiedenhofer.

Among the photos is the 'green line' United Nations buffer zone in Cyprus.

Its launch in September marked 50 years since the construction of the first peace lines in Belfast and 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Mr Wiedenhofer photographed the historic scenes in Berlin and travelled to Northern Ireland as a photo journalist in the late 1990s.

At the launch, the 53-year-old said he hoped the exhibition would help build "community relations" and bring people together across the interface divide.

The Wall on Wall photo project on the Cupar Way peace line that has been written over with loyalist political slogans. Picture by Mal McCann

Deirdre Robb, chief executive of Belfast Exposed which is supporting the exhibition, said the graffiti was disappointing.

"It shows a lack of respect for an artist, one who is genuine and committed," she said.

"We intend to continue the cross-community project with Clonard and the Greater Shankill Partnership."

Jackie Redpath from the Greater Shankill Partnership said he believed the graffiti was the work of one person.

"It in no way reflects on the exhibition which has brought communities together," he said.

"Queen's and Ulster have forged strong relationships, with the Shankill in particular, and are widening participation."

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