'Lots of colour, energy and power' - Banbury's famous pigeon mural gets makeover

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A team of graffiti artists spent last weekend giving Banbury’s famous graffiti pigeon mural a makeover.

The much-talked-about mural on Bridge Street has been painted over, eight years after it first appeared.

It was painted on the wall by Banbury artist Jonny Arnold and Australian Cherie Strong for Naomi’s cafe, which occupied 67 Bridge Street at the time.

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Before this, artwork originally appeared on the wall in 1991, when the Prince's Trust funded a mural to celebrate the Bridge Bar youth club.

A drone shot of the colourful new mural on Bridge Street taken by A. Corbett Services.A drone shot of the colourful new mural on Bridge Street taken by A. Corbett Services.
A drone shot of the colourful new mural on Bridge Street taken by A. Corbett Services.

Now that a new networking hub and cafe named Power Cup has taken over the premises, business owner Tomas Kulbus decided it was time for the mural to get a makeover.

Tomas, who is preparing for the opening of Power Cup on June 1, said: “After settling in and speaking to residents and business owners about the mural, many people said they were unhappy with the painting.

"Most people were complaining about the pigeon, saying that it looks depressing and grey, so I started gathering information and asking the county council who owns the building if I could repaint the wall and the answer came back yes.”

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Tomas has teamed up with two local graffiti artists to create a colourful mural that pays homage to the original style from the early 90s as well as the more recent pigeon.

A picture from 1996 shows the original mural that was painted for the Bridge Bar Cafe.A picture from 1996 shows the original mural that was painted for the Bridge Bar Cafe.
A picture from 1996 shows the original mural that was painted for the Bridge Bar Cafe.

Work started on the painting last weekend and is scheduled to be completed by this weekend, providing the team can access scaffolding to reach the top of the wall.

He said: “About 50 per cent of the new artwork will reflect what the wall looked like in the 90s. I want the wall to have lots of colour, energy and power to boost people’s moods when they see it.

“I am a very motivated person, so I want the mural to inspire people and help others to be motivated while also bringing the community together."

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Tomas hopes that Power Cup will be the first of its kind in the UK and will be a place where people with ideas or business plans can seek advice or connect with like-minded people.

He said: “We want to create a space in the town where we can help people achieve their ideas, and we can also host events, utilising the community gardens behind the property.”

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