'It makes people feel proud of where they come from': Female artists part of colourful project to rejuvenate the Southside of Glasgow with mural art trail

Two female artists tell of how a mural trail in the Southside of Glasgow is aiming to build community ties and create a colourful space in the local area.

Nikki McGuigan and Molly Hankinson are artists contributing to an art trail in the Shawlands area of Glasgow which involves 11 artists adding colour to the blank spaces of the local neighbourhood.

Organised by MyShawlands, the art project will create 35 separate murals ranging from small street level pieces up to large gable ends all done with cooperation from building owners, tenants and Glasgow City Council.

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The pair have breathed new life to the side of a convenience store on Frankfort Street with their mural art.

Nikki McGuigan, 30, and Molly Hankinson, 25, standing beside their colourful artwork on Frankfort Street in Shawlands (Photo: Hannah Brown).

Their art draws attention to the importance of education as well as local wildlife in the area.

Ms McGuigan, 30, who is from the east end of Glasgow said: “This art is to regenerate this part of Glasgow and make it feel more alive – making people feel a bit more prouder of where they come from.”

Working under the name Little Book Transfers, Ms McGuigan said her mural ‘Looking Cook’ draws awareness to local wildlife in the area.

She said: "Mine is inspired by the Eurasian Coot which is a species of coot that you will see in the local parks around here.

Nikki McGuigan, 30, adding the finishing touches to her mural 'Looking Coot' which draws awareness to the local wildlife in the area (Photo: Hannah Brown).

“You often see them nesting in the ponds and when they come out the water they have these crazy looking webbed feet- I just thought they were really great and fun and I wasn’t sure if people would know that was the coot so I thought it was raising awareness.”

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Ms Hankinson said she she would love to see the project expanded both Scotland and UK wide.

She said: “I’m really enjoying creating work for my local community and it feels great to be a part of the positive community-focused regeneration happening in Shawlands. "

Molly Hankinson, 25, working on her art which depicts a women lying beside books with titles such as ‘Understanding Privilege’ and ‘Inclusive Activism’ to show the importance of education throughout life (Photo: Hannah Brown).

“This area is such a great area and it deserves to be celebrated and it deserves to have creative regeneration put into it and the artwork should reflect that.”

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Hailing from South East London, visual artist and illustrator Ms Hankinson – who now lives in Mount Florida – has found her artistic home in Glasgow.

Talking about her mural, the 25-year-old artist said: “This one is about the power of education and how knowledge is key and how you need to carry on doing the work after you leave school.

“I wanted it to have a link to the school Shawlands Academy which is just around the corner and education in general.

“It just shows that education never stops and you need to keep ensuring that you are practicing empathy in everything you do.”

Speaking about the overall impact of the project, Ms Hankinson added: “I think it has the power to have such a positive impact on communities, on individuals’ mental health, and seeing visual art in public spaces creates potential for other people to try it out too.”

Speaking about public response to the art, Lisa McLaughlin from MyShawlands said: “We’ve had an amazing response from the public and are excited for new pieces to be added over the next few months.”

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Thanks to support from Gaz Mac from SWG3 in Glasgow, there are also talks of doing murals at the Yardworks there.

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