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Europe's tallest artwork boosts Leicester's street art reputation

The new piece solidifies Leicester as a top UK destination for street art.

The new artwork on St George's Tower. © Josie Parr
The new artwork on St George's Tower. © Josie Parr

Over the last month, Leicester has witnessed the transformation of one of the city's most iconic buildings.

Five local artists have scaled St George's tower (AKA The Blue Tower), turning the 82m high building into one of the tallest artworks in the world.

Adding to Leicester's huge array of street art, the mural places the city firmly on the UK's graffiti map.

The artwork features visual themes representing Leicester’s unique heritage and culture. These include:

  • A striking orange fox at the top of the tower, representative of Leicester City Football Club

  • An astronaut, referencing the city being home to the National Space Centre and a hub for space research

  • A strand of DNA, alluding to the University of Leicester’s discovery of the technique for DNA fingerprinting and, more recently, the identification of the bones of King Richard III

  • A colourful tiger, representing the world-famous Leicester Tigers rugby union club.

The project has been funded by Leicester’s Business Improvement District, BID Leicester, and has been developed alongside local arts organisation, Graffwerk.

New look: St George's Tower

The sky-scraping artwork was painted by a team of Leicester-based artists: Wing Lo, Richard Peacock, and Leigh Drummond, assisted by Ben Edwards and Kiene Tuckley.

The completed mural stands at an impressive 82 metres tall, almost doubling the current UK record and covering a total of 717.5 square metres.

It is now Europe’s tallest artwork and one of the tallest murals in the world – surpassed only by paintings in Calgary, Canada and Karachi, Pakistan.

The project follows several initiatives and events that have been supported by BID Leicester to transform the visual landscape, with the aim of creating a more attractive environment within the city centre.

Former projects have included a series of colourful murals in pub beer gardens and turning vacant shop unit windows into artworks created by local artists.

Most recently, the internationally acclaimed Bring The Paint street art festival returned to the city for the third time.

It saw over forty permanent large-scale works created on walls across the city, adding to other pieces also created in previous years and forming a huge trail of world-class street art for all to enjoy.

BID Leicester Director, Simon Jenner, said: "The artwork being created on St George’s tower is another example of the BID continuing to do bigger and better things for Leicester city-centre; proactively delivering initiatives which create a real and lasting change to the landscape.

"As well as transforming the building, we expect the artwork to give a boost to the visitor economy and support tourism by giving people another great reason to visit the city."

Local arts organization, Graffwerk, are based at Frog Island arts centre, The Mill by GRAFFWERK. Their work as a dynamic arts enterprise delivers major street art and educational projects which have a huge impact on the visual environment.

"We’re really thrilled to be delivering this project after three years of planning and are extremely grateful to BID Leicester for sharing our vision," said a statement, released by Graffwerk.

"From the conception of the project, it was always important to us that the artwork was delivered by Leicester artists, and we are proud of the incredibly talented team that are working on this with us."

The iconic building is home to several businesses, including Premier Inn, Al Feena Shisha Lounge, PureGym, Hastings Direct, as well as student accommodation.

Find out more about the project online and tag your pictures on social media #LeicesterBlueTower.


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