Artist paints commemorative mural

Ballyclare Somme mural. INNT 26-805CON
Ballyclare Somme mural. INNT 26-805CON

An artist from Newtownabbey has painted a vivid mural to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

The mural, which has been erected on a billboard in Ballyclare, was created by linking two paintings by Maurice Oliphant. It also includes information about the 36th Ulster Division.

Maurice came up with the idea for the piece after a meeting at an art club in Antrim. He wanted to do something to mark the key anniversary and set about trying to generate some of the imagery from the battle and the iconic poppy. He conducted his own research online into the facts surrounding the Battle of the Somme before beginning work on the paintings.

Both of the pieces used to create the mural have the poppy as a central image. One painting depicts various scenes from the battle. These include allied troops wearing gas masks, German artillery fire, the Ulster Tower and allied troops going ‘over the top.’ The second illustrates troops in the shadow of a poppy as they enter the battlefield. The project was self-funded by Maurice.

The mural has been erected on a billboard at the junction of Mill Road and the Hillhead Road. It will remain at this location until Tuesday, July 5.

Maurice is now retired after a career as a graphic designer. He previously painted the Queen presenting the Colours to the UDR in 1991 and the George Cross being presented to the RUC in the late 1990s.