Artwork in solidarity with Black Lives Matter installed at the University

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Do Better artwork

A new piece of artwork, championing the fight against inequality, has been installed at the University of Stirling, in solidarity with the global Black Lives Matter movement.

Created by Alloa-based artist, Suzanne Williams, the artwork – Do Better – is designed to highlight those who have experienced and strived against injustices. The artwork is part of the Scotland-wide BLM mural trail created by Wezi Mhura as a visual symbol of solidarity with those who have been affected by racial injustice.

Placed at the heart of campus, Do Better will be clearly visible to students, staff, and visitors.

The artwork’s installation underlines the University’s ongoing commitment to tackling racism and racial inequality in society, while also celebrating black culture.

It has an interactive element and website, with people able to scan a QR code on the artwork to add the names of those that have contributed to the equality cause or been previously overlooked. It has been funded by significant support from Macrobert Arts Centre, and donations by the University, UCU, Stirling University Students Union and private donors.

University of Stirling Art Curator, Jane Cameron, said: “Suzanne’s ambition in creating the Do Better installation has been to encourage us all to consider the past and think about our actions in the future. We are very pleased to be including her work on our campus-wide sculpture trail and hope that it will inspire a positive response among our University community and the wider public.”

Do Better artwork and artist Suzanne Williams

Do Better artist Suzanne Williams

The artist, Suzanne Williams, said: “This piece has been designed to reflect the poor representation or invisibility of the black experience in Scotland, but also to highlight those who have experienced and strived against injustices.  Do Better highlights the names of the lesser known members of the fight against inequality by incorporating their names onto the figures that comprise the sculpture.

“As the piece is representative of the human form, the sculpture is designed so that from specific angles the message ‘Do Better’ is visible between the shapes.  The piece will portray that inequality and prejudice are still prevalent today, and together we can do better.”

Amy Smith, Student Union President, said: “The sabbatical officers are very pleased to have been able to donate a portion of our campaign budgets to this art project. We very much believe that Scotland must tackle its racism problem, not enough has been done to combat this in the past, and we must 'Do Better' in addressing this, as Suzanne's art piece demonstrates.

“Vital to the fight against racism is reflection on our own privileges, educating ourselves on the injustices which exist, and being able to call out racism when we see it. This art piece does a fantastic job of encouraging us all to do that.”

Julie Ellen, Macrobert Arts Centre Artistic Director, said: “There is a clear role for everyone at Macrobert Arts Centre in building a fairer society through the championing of black artists and underrepresented voices from all backgrounds. When Wezi Mhura called to ask if we would like to participate in the mural trail there were many questions to consider but only one possible answer – Yes.

“The questions included; Who is the local artist who might create such an important work? How will we fund it? Where could it go? We had to stop, think and reach out to others. By working together, we found that the questions we need to address can be answered, so that they can be asked again. Suzanne William’s bold and inclusive work invites everyone to stop, think and ask the question, how could we do better?”

Wezi Mhura, creator of the BLM mural trail, said: “These artworks have created an opportunity for artists of colour to look at racial injustice, and to share their own artistic vision, from a Scottish perspective of lived experience, across a wide range of media including street art, painting, graphic design, video and photography. The results - colourful, challenging, moving and diverse – have been as wide ranging and inspiring as the artists themselves.”