New Benjamin Zephaniah mural unveiled in Handsworth to commemorate late poet

  • The family of Benjamin Zephaniah say they're hugely grateful after a mural depicting their late brother was unveiled in Handsworth Park on Sunday.

A mural depicting the activist, writer and actor Benjamin Zephaniah has been unveiled in Birmingham.

The colourful wall paintings of the late poet were revealed to the public in Handsworth Park on Sunday 14 April.

Zephaniah, from Handsworth, died from a brain tumour in December 2023. Credit: ITV News Central

The mural was created by Erdington artist Bunny Bread and cartoonist Hunt Emerson, on the historic Sons of Rest building.

It pays tribute to Zephaniah, from Handsworth, who died aged 65 of a brain tumour in December 2023.

Zephaniah starred in Birmingham-based Peaky Blinder television series. Credit: ITV News Central

The artists wanted to celebrate Zephaniah's 'extraordinary legacy', after the artwork was commissioned by Black Heritage Walks Network.

Artist Bunny said: "Benjamin really stood for the people. When you listen to his music and his poetry, his causes were always in front of him. In a time where people are about getting followers and likes, he was always about the cause and the people."

The original mural on an underpass in Hockley was removed by council contractors, as it was not covered by a protection order. Credit: BPM Media / ITV News Central

Another mural depicting him, which was painted on the wall of an underpass in the Hockley area of Birmingham, was removed by council contractors earlier this month.

Birmingham City Council said that contractors working for Kier regularly remove graffiti or paintings on subway walls.

They are supposed to leave artwork within the Hockley underpass area as there is a protection order in place, but the order fails to include the outside walls - where this painting was.

Benjamin Zephaniah died in December 2023 from a brain tumour. Credit: PA Images

Speaking on behalf of Friends of Handsworth Park, chair of trustees Ed Freshwater said: “Benjamin - through his works, his words, his activism, and his unstoppable passion - represented all that is great about Handsworth. His poetry had a rhythm and language that's familiar to us all, in our homes and our streets.

"Handsworth Park is a place where our community comes to breathe, to celebrate, and to be inspired. We are all so proud to celebrate Benjamin's extraordinary legacy with this mural, and look forward to many more commemorations of his legacy."

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