Graffiti artists play chicken in Cross Keys passage

Local artists Keziah Hoffman and Davidos Quailos, along with young people accompanied by Winchester’s Connexions team leader Trevor Lynas, have brought some startling and comical colour to the quiet gloom of Cross Keys Passage which leads from the city’s High Street into Silver Hill.

Following a request from the local Graffiti Busters team, Winchester’s very first graffiti commission was completed last week after several hours of painstaking and enjoyable collaborative design and paint work, with a definite chicken theme!

Graffiti Busters is a joint agency initiative to tackle city centre graffiti, and is a partnership

between Winchester Police, Winchester Probation Service, Winchester City Council and Winchester City Centre Partnership. Cross Keys Passage is the first area to be tackled by the new project.

Talking about the project, Graham Love, of Winchester City Centre Partnership said, "I think the artwork looks great. I have noticed people of all ages, from senior citizens to young children, taking time to admire the creative talent of the artists' work. Community art is a colourful alternative to walls daubed with unsightly graffiti and helps to lift the presentation of otherwise disused areas."

Winchester City Council’s Arts Development Officer Marilyn Michalowicz said it was a delight to have been asked to commission such vibrant work by these talented young artists, and for it to be given an airing in a public space which certainly needed a bit of brightening up.

"I’ve already seen lots of people pausing to view and enjoy the colourful designs. The team are grateful to the management of the Blue Dolphin fish and chip shop next door for being supportive and supplying refreshments!"

The Graffiti Busters partnership aims to find positive ways of combating random graffiti and the idea of commissioning a complete graffiti wall came from experiences elsewhere which show that when walls are properly painted, repetitive antisocial graffiti decreases.

"What people should bear in mind with wall paintings of this kind is that they are temporary and can have a fixed term of existence, much like a temporary exhibition," added Marilyn. "If they bring a little colour and animation to a shadowy corner of the city then this may be for the good. It also recognises the skill associated with graffiti art and its ability to express young people's very real issues and ideas."

For more information about the project, please contact Marilyn on 01962 848175