A Newport mural painted to commemorate a retired police officer and carnival queen has become popular hit in its area with people travelling from afar to see the stunning piece of artwork.

The mural painted by Andy O’Rourke in Temple Street, Pillgwenlly, has received a warm reaction ahead of the Pill Carnival.

The painting features Pill carnival queen Alexia Cuthbert and PC Val who has left his post as a community police officer after more than 30 years, with the Newport Transporter Bridge depicted too. There are also Jamaican dancers and flags from a costume the artist worked on in 2015 in a primary school in the old library.  

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Creator Andy O’Rourke was approached by the police and council to create a mural commemorating PC Val’s time as a police officer but instead turned it into a stunning piece of artwork for the whole community to enjoy.

He said: “PC Val has been a popular face on the streets of Pill for 30 years and is well respected by everybody and they wanted something to commemorate this.

“Originally, we designed a survey of the street, and I designed a picture that was going to be a big picture of Val with the streets of Pill behind him

“We liked the design but thought having a giant picture of a policeman on a wall in Pill wasn’t the best idea, so we came up with something else.

“After seeing a Facebook post from the pill carnival committee about a piece in the Argus talking about the new carnival queen, it sparked a new idea.

“She can become the main focus of the picture, rather than it just being a policeman. He is there doing community liaison speaking to people in the mural, the Jamaican dancers were taken from a picture from a float.”

This year the community in Pill celebrates 60 years of Jamaican independence from the United Kingdom with their annual Pill carnival featuring Jamaican celebrations.

The two-day Reggae and Riddim event at Tredegar House in Tredegar Park in Duffryn will also celebrate the anniversary with a festival featuring reggae music and Jamaican food.

Mr O’Rourke added: “The art fits in well with the anniversary celebrations and ticks a lot of boxes. It hits diverse members of the community and I have had a lot of fantastic feedback.

“People have approached me and asked who the girl is. Everybody would drive past it and recognise Val.

“It represents the feeling of the carnival quite well as its full of colour and highlights young and youthful. It has an element of the police angle which is not too heavy handed.”

The mural has attracted a lot of attention, not only to the residents in Pill but to everybody in Newport who would drive to the area to see it.

Mr O’Rourke, who was inspired by famous artist Banksy, has been asked to create a map highlighting where his art work has popped up across the city.

A beautiful mural sits in temple streetStunning mural highlighting pill community sits in temple street

He added: “People would drive out of their way just to come and see the mural, the recycling guys stopped their wagons and asked me all about it.

“The community have really taken to it and there have been masses of positive comments. I have worked with the Pill carnival in the past, so I feel a little bit of association with them, and they have been sharing pictures of my mural around.

“People have come out of their way to say hello and just admire the piece of art.”

Mr O’Rourke says what he would like to work on something with a fascinating background, like the lady in the Cardiff City shirt mural in Canton, Cardiff.

He added: “I’ve seen the piece and it’s a fantastic looking mural. I love it as it makes a statement and with the right conversation, I would love to make something like that.”