| 11.5°C Dublin

street art Artist says 'my message won't be censored' after period products mural destroyed

The men who did it were obviously offended but if they were then they don’t look at it. It says an awful lot about them though."

Close

DEFACED: Nuala Convery spent three days painting the mural on the gable wall of the Ulster Sports Club

DEFACED: Nuala Convery spent three days painting the mural on the gable wall of the Ulster Sports Club

DEFACED: Nuala Convery spent three days painting the mural on the gable wall of the Ulster Sports Club

Nuala Convery wants to thank the men who destroyed her street art in Belfast city centre last week.

The Belfast artist spent days on her labour of love only for it to be blacked out by two unidentified men who believed they had the right to censor her powerful work.

Yet instead of erasing her message in support of free period products for all women, Nuala revealed it had the opposite effect — her work and its meaning have now gone viral.

“At the start I was devastated, I totally freaked out. I didn’t even know what to say because I was so heartbroken. I was so confused because at the start I couldn’t understand why because I had got permission,” Nuala told Sunday World.

“The men who did it were obviously offended but if they were then they don’t look at it. It says an awful lot about them though.

“If they thought it was an abomination then that is their problem, but they actually did us a favour. They’ve helped us spread the word, because of lockdown there would have been very little footfall and very few would have seen it but they helped change that. I think that’s what you call karma,” she laughed.

Close

Nuala Convery

Nuala Convery

Nuala Convery

The mural was in support of charity Homeless Period Belfast which supports the Menstruation Matters campaign, something close to Nuala’s heart.

“I poured my heart and soul into this and spent three days working on this, unpaid, because I wanted to raise awareness on a number of issues that are so important to me. This piece for me shone a light on the female gaze of our own bodies in time for International Women’s Day.

“We grow body hair, we have periods, we have rolls. I wanted to create something that women could look at and feel seen and feel empowered. It was to highlight a campaign that de-stigmatises menstruation and highlights the fact that period products are still not provided for free in public toilets.”

The campaign, which got the attention of Stormont, has already done amazing work in getting free period products rolled out across schools in Northern Ireland from this September.

Nuala became involved with the campaign from the very start and is determined to continue her fight along with her friends at Homeless Period Belfast which provides period packs for those in need.

“Toilet roll, sanitary bins, soap and hand dryers are all included in public toilet budgets already, why not provide period products too? It’s something that affects half of the population and it is being ignored.

“People being offended by women’s natural bodies only perpetuates the shame and stigma that we face for literally just existing and having bodily features that the traditional ‘male gaze’ doesn’t deem attractive.

“Shame and embarrassment is a social construct and we need to stop being ashamed about our bodies. Girls can start their periods as young as eight, the education on menstruation is starting too late. Menstruation is the reason we all exist and I think we need to break the taboo around this subject.”

The abduction and murder of Sarah Everard is on every woman’s mind, including Nuala’s.

“It is appalling what is going on and the censorship of my art is just a small example of how women are viewed and treated. Today women are sharing their trauma, we are all together on what is going on, we have fire in our bellies. This has been an emotional and triggering week for many of us with the Sarah Everard case, the police aggression in response to the vigil as well as locally this mural being censored,” she said.

“It’s ironic but also telling that all of this happened in the week of International Women’s Day and that the vigil for Sarah was calling to an end of violence against women but ended in violence against women from the police. Women feel unsafe and silenced and we need structural changes to happen now. We need more men supporting us and raising up our voices to make changes.”

The self-employed street artist will not be beaten by the men or the attitudes that destroyed her work on the gable wall of the Ulster Sports Club.

“I will recreate it somewhere else, that is my intention, but the wall that was blacked out will be an all-women’s wall. A collaboration with other local artists, that will include quotes and social media posts about what is going on now, what happened to Sarah and what Homeless Period Belfast is trying to achieve. It will be about women and their voice.

“You can censor art but you will not censor the movement, we will retake the streets,” the passionate artist added.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Top Videos





Privacy