the destroyed mural
Protesters leave flowers in memory of Newport's Chartist muralMichael Sheen a Hollywood actor and director of some note latterly famous for playing various well known figures in biopics ( Brian Clough, David Frost and Tony Blair), was born in Port Talbot. He has written an open letter to the people of Newport about the Chartist mural in the town destroyed to make way for the building of a shopping centre. He took out a full page in the South Wales Argus to protest the destruction. Newport council has been lampooned on YouTube over the destruction already.
The mural by Kenneth Budd in John Frost Square, which was made of 200,000 pieces of tile and glass, was completed in 1978 and marked the uprising led by John Frost in Newport in 1839, where Chartists demanding political reform rebelled against authority, leaving 24 people dead. It was much loved and its passing was marked by flowers and a memorial service.
In the letter Michael Sheen appeals to the people of Newport to make a new memorial to the Chartists. He particularly calls upon the art and design students to use their creative skills and imaginative flair to find and re-use materials that would cost little or nothing. He knows about art and design students in South Wales because some of you were part of 'The Passion'. In 2011, Sheen starred in and was creative director of The Passion, a 72-hour secular passion play staged in Port Talbot As well as the professional cast, over one thousand local amateurs took part in the performance and another thousand volunteers from local charity and community groups helped prepare for the performance in various ways.
Michael Sheen has described it as "the most meaningful experience" of his career.