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Work Begins On ‘Monumental’ Mural Project At Historic Columbine Building

(c) Pavlo Federov and Alice Malia

APRIL marks the beginning of an ambitious artistic endeavour as muralist Alice Malia, along with a team of eight talented local artists, starts the creation of a large-scale mural on the Columbine Building in East Cowes. 

The project, which is being delivered using public funding from Arts Council England’s National Lottery grant with additional support from Forestry England and the Isle of Wight Council, has significance and community value and is building on the Levelling Up projects currently running in the area.

The landmark Columbine Building serves as the perfect backdrop, symbolising the area's industrial past and its transformation into a hub of creativity and environmental stewardship.

The mural, measuring 12 metres high and 65 metres long, will serve as a canvas celebrating some of the Isle of Wight’s unique heritage and its recent environmental achievements, particularly the successful reintroduction of the White-tailed Eagle.

The prominent 8-metre high painted eagle will be visible from across the river Medina. Below it, the mural illustrates the hidden seagrass meadows of the Solent, an important underwater breeding habitat for some of its key prey, fish, and cuttlefish.

Spanning the rest of the building in tonal blues, the mural will narrate a story of innovation through the last century, presented alongside the natural local habitat we all share.

The art seeks to celebrate and uphold the skill, workmanship, and invention that made East Cowes the site of three incredible flying machines: the Princess Seaplane, the Black Arrow Rocket, and the hovercraft.

Research for the mural’s themes has been generously aided by The White-Tailed Eagle reintroduction project led by Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, East Cowes Heritage Centre, and Wight Aviation Museum, with further support from Wight Shipyard Co and East Cowes Town Council.

Over the next three months, the team of artists, led by Alice, will transform the building's façade into a vibrant historical and ecological narrative.

Speaking about the project, Alice said:

“I’m passionate about the natural world and living as we do in a UNESCO biosphere reserve, this public piece of art fuses our community’s rich history with its commitment to environmental conservation, providing a beacon of cultural and natural pride for the Isle of Wight.”

Ross Edmunds, Area Regeneration Manager for Cowes and East Cowes said:

“This piece of artwork is in recognition of the successful Sea Eagle release programme on the Isle of Wight.”

“It will also serve to recognise the hard-working people (past and present), who have worked and still work in the Columbine building, to produce internationally significant innovation.” 

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