A mural symbolising that “young people will inherit the Earth” has been unveiled in Belfast as part of a global leadership summit.
To celebrate the One Young World Summit 2023, Tourism Northern Ireland has collaborated with a local artist on the work that was displayed in Belfast City Centre on Wednesday.
Belfast-born artist Kev Largey created the piece inspired by Northern Ireland’s Embrace a Giant Spirit brand combined with the themes of the global Summit.
The dynamic street art was unveiled at the ICC Belfast to more than 2,200 international delegates and young leaders from over 190 countries.
Mr Largey said the mural shows that the Earth’s future is in the hands of the next generation.
“I was incredibly excited to collaborate with Tourism Northern Ireland on this work,” he said.
“It is not an exaggeration to suggest the future of the world lies in the hands of the next generation, like the 2,000 young leaders who are gathering in Belfast this week.
“I wanted my artwork to symbolise this – these young people will literally inherit the Earth.”
Mr Largey said the artwork encapsulates the plenary themes being explored by young leaders during the summit, including peace & reconciliation, the global food crisis, education, climate emergency and mental health.
He added: “Education is represented by the book that’s in the kid’s back pocket. Peace and reconciliation, obviously, is represented by the dove and the olive branch.
“The food crisis, which is also represented by the apple. The embrace a giant spirit from the tourist board is an embrace by young people from our planet.”
He said: “We have to do the best we can as adult humans,including our politicians that sort of leave something decent for them to work with, whenever we’re all dying out.”
Mr Largey said mural culture was a “massive part” of Belfast’s cultural legacy.
“There was a massive mural culture always here from year dot, not always positive, but mostly political stuff,” he said.
“And then, as years sort of progressed, graffiti and street art became more sort of prevalent. post the Good Friday Agreement, then the mural culture continued, and it became not just about ‘us and them’ or green and orange.
“It sort of became a bit more colourful and something that sort of makes the city a lot more inviting.”
Tourism NI director of marketing Naomi Waite said the mural exhibited the spirit of Northern Ireland as thousands explore the region this week
“Thousands of young people from all over the planet have been in Northern Ireland this week and it has been a wonderful opportunity for us to highlight what a world class destination we are,” she said.
“In working with Kev to deliver this fantastic piece of street-art, we sought to reinforce exactly what Northern Ireland – Embrace a Giant Spirit means.
“This celebrates not only the arrival of One Young World 2023 in Belfast but also draws from the best of our local art and innovation, highlighting our giant spirit in a bold and evocative way.
“These young people may well be our future leaders and we know they will leave Northern Ireland having had four of the most incredible days of their lives.
“I thank Kev for being part of something that the delegates can enjoy and celebrates the hosting of this important Summit in Northern Ireland.”