Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Saturday, 26 July 2008 16:43 UK

Graffiti art in teenager's memory


Bill Lockwood's mother Lou on why the wall is important

Artists from across the UK are creating a "legal" graffiti wall in a Cardiff park this weekend in memory of a teenager.

The Roxe Jam event, which also features hip-hop and dance, is remembering graffiti artist Bill Lockwood, 15, who was killed crossing a road last year.

The wall in Sevenoaks Park, Grangetown, owned by Network Rail, is being painted for a second year running.

The project is also backed by Cardiff council and the Arts Council of Wales.

It aims to promote legalised graffiti and has the full support of the rail company.

Network Rail has supported the use of its 130m-long wall beneath a local railway line.

A spokeswoman said: "It's definitely an activity we would support. They already have the support of the council."

"It won't damage the wall or offend the community. Young people can practise this art form in a legal manner."

Last summer the wall was transformed in to a colourful display of slogans. One year on it will be re-painted by artists from all over the UK, including many local writers.

The festival is in memory of Bill Lockwood

Bill Lockwood was known by his tag "Roxe" for his graffiti art and had appeared at festivals showcasing his work before his death in Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff.

The first event in his memory was held a few months afterwards.

This year's artists are travelling from as far afield as Glasgow, Manchester and London, while there will be Welsh hip-hop DJs and dancers.

Lou Lockwood, organiser and Bill's mother, is very excited at the prospect of building on last year's success. She said: "I was over-whelmed by the response to last year's event. The Jam was a real success in bringing different art forms together."

"What made the event special was that it brought a range of age groups together: young people showing their skills alongside more established artists and performers."

She also outlined how fitting a tribute it was to her late son, who she described as "lively and artistic" with a passion for graffiti.

Mrs Lockwood said: "Bill was particularly talented at graffiti; he developed his skills following a family trip to New York when he was just 10 years old."

"Bill produced much artwork during his short life and his family and friends have his canvases hanging in their homes. An arts organisation in his name is a fitting tribute to honour Bill's memory."

Graffiti wall on Saturday
The wall is being repainted over work which was first completed a year agp

Cardiff-based breakdancer Jason Barker, 31, also known as "Slammo", has been performing since his youth and his crew Elemental Force will be holding workshops.

He said: "Basically the main focus is to get kids involved in the art form."

"There are two sides to it. Established artists are coming down to paint the wall and junior groups will perform on the day. Welsh artists will perform against Breakstation, London's top crew."

He also acknowledged the importance of breaking down negative stereotypes. "Modern hip-hop is seen as very negative. It's not very local to you and it doesn't happen here," he said, referring to the frequent mention of guns and gang culture.

"It used to be a very positive thing to do."

"It's great that it's in memory of Bill, but on a larger scale it's great to get people involved in hip-hop culture."

The event will take place at Sevenoaks Park, off Sloper Road, Cardiff from 1200-2000 BST on 26 July and 1200-1800 BST on 27 July.

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