A STRIKING image of a black and a white hand grasped together in solidarity has been installed on one of Glasgow’s most prominent buildings in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The artwork at the King’s Theatre is part of Scotland’s first mural trail which has been created in response to the global outrage over the killing of George Floyd in the United States.

The Black Lives Matter Mural Trail began last week in Edinburgh and has now been extended to Glasgow with powerful artworks by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) artists planned for other leading art venues across Scotland.

It is the brainchild of Edinburgh-based creative producer Wezi Mhura who wanted to harness the power of art and realised that even though the country’s venues are closed because of the pandemic lockdown, their doors and walls could still be used for a dramatic statement of support for Black Lives Matter.

She pulled the trail together in just over a week in the hope that it could shed light on the debate over how to represent Scotland’s involvement in the slave trade, colonialism and imperialism.

READ MORE: Robin McAlpine: Why an independent Scotland is the only route

Mhura believes the Scottish Mural Trail will show a way that art can be at the forefront of the issue and stimulate the conversation, while also adding an exciting new dynamic to currently boarded up venues.

The artworks, inspired by the themes of I Can’t Breathe and Black Lives Matter, are being created by BAME artists who live in Scotland. Several will be supported by additional exhibitions with local relevance and will be in a variety of media including paint, photography, video and digital art in a wide range of styles such as fine art, street art, text, illustrative and abstract.

The artists come from a wide range of backgrounds, including Cape Verde, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan/Harris, and the US.

One of the first artworks to be installed was at The Hub in Edinburgh and featured art based on an original photograph by British-born Nigerian photographer Jamal Yussuff-Adelakun, which he created with his daughter Lola. “My daughter and I have bonded and created before when it comes to photography, but never before have we both used the medium of photography to talk about race injustice or racism,” he said. “For me this was a new-found way to have that conversation with her.”

New artworks have now been installed at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre and Theatre Royal. On either side of its front entrance the King’s is hosting two colourful prints by Neda Ghaffar, a 23-year-old Scottish Pakistani artist from the island of Harris.

In creating the works she said she wanted to give an alternative to the sometimes negative stereotyping of Muslims.

READ MORE: Brexit: MSPs object to Westminster’s ‘power grab’

“I concentrate on the shapes and patterns seen from a distance of mass and the facade of equality it creates,” she said. “With all the negativity surrounding and stereotyping Muslims, I wanted to bring to light the non-threatening traditions. Repetition and rhythm are focal throughout my work and I want to remind people of the innocent vibrant colours and rhythmic patterns associated with art from the Middle East.”

WORKS by Glasgow-based photographer and writer Steven Khan have been installed at the Theatre Royal. “I am a keen writer and document words alongside imagery, often as poems,” said Khan, who was born and brought up in Kirkcaldy. “I am an equality activist and my work centres around my lived experience as a queer BAME artist in Scotland.”

His two photographs are a vivid self-portrait and a close up of a building arch, with the words of his poems superimposed.

More artworks have also now been added to buildings in Edinburgh. The Queen’s Hall railings are proudly displaying French artist Rudy Kanhye’s strikingly simple text banner “All Li es Matter” while Dance Base boasts life-size colourful paintings of various dancers – breakdance, jazz, Hip Hop and ballet – on their street doors with the legend: “You cannot enjoy the rhythm and ignore the blues.”

More images are set to pop up in cities across Scotland, including at Eden Court in Inverness, Stirling and Dundee, and at The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.

Mhura hopes the mural trail will be the trigger for some serious discussions about racism at the highest levels.

“The Scottish Government says it recognises the strength in its aspirations to a more equal and more diverse society going forward, and we hope this Mural Trail will help to start the conversations that need to be happening now,” she said. “It’s been amazing to connect in with so many talented artists with roots in so many different places who have been so enthusiastic about getting behind this project.”