The project is led by Portsmouth’s Youth Cabinet and the artwork is to become a symbol of love and acceptance.
With funding from Portsmouth City Council and support from Engendering Change and FORM+FUNCTION, the mural aims to champion LGBTQ rights and nurture a community where all voices are heard.
The project was inspired by the killing of 16-year-old trans girl Brianna Ghey in Cheshire in February 2023. The Youth Cabinet channelled their grief into action, setting out to create a lasting tribute and an enduring message of acceptance.
Cllr Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: “Projects like the Love is Love mural not only enrich our public spaces but also serve as a testament to the power of collaboration and youth engagement. The Youth Cabinet’s dedication to positive change, coupled with the council’s support, demonstrates the potential for our young citizens to make a significant difference in our community.”
FORM+FUNCTION, a Portsmouth based community interest company that specialises in creativity and community, has played a key role in bringing the mural to life as a continuation of their work in Orchard Park.
Annabel Innes, its creative director, said: “The Love is Love mural project stands as a testament to the power of creativity and unity in fostering positive change. Building on our prior work in Orchard Park, this project showcases the beauty and impact of when art, community, and advocacy meet. We are thrilled to support and amplify the Youth Cabinet’s message of love and inclusion, and we look forward to seeing the far-reaching impact it will undoubtedly have on the city.”
With funding from the council and support from Engendering Change, the Youth Cabinet organised two workshops. These workshops brought young people together with street artists Samo and Fark. They talked about how art can change the world and brought to life their vision for Portsmouth using hoodies as their canvas.
With ideas from the workshops, Samo and Fark designed the Love is Love mural. This vibrant and bold artwork carries a message of love, togetherness and acceptance.
Jo Morgan, the founder and CEO of Engendering Change, said: “With a significant increase in homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in recent years, we know that many LGBTQ people feel unsafe to be their true and authentic selves. The Youth Cabinet is passionate about changing this by combating bigotry with love. It has been an honour to bring young people across the city together and to help them to create a space which is unambiguous in its message: Love is Love.”
The Youth Cabinet is a team of young volunteers aged 11–18 who aim to speak up for all young people in Portsmouth. They stand as a beacon of support, ensuring that the views and aspirations of young people in the city are heard, recognised and acted upon.
Jude Leaves, leader of the Youth Cabinet and Member of Youth Parliament for Portsmouth, said: “The Youth Cabinet hopes the Love is Love mural will be like a stone thrown into a pond, making ripples of love and kindness that spread across the city. This beautiful artwork will show that everyone is important and should be treated with respect.
“Orchard Park is already a special place for art and sports, and the mural will make it even better. We would like to thank the council, Engendering Change and FORM+FUNCTION for sharing our vision and their unwavering support in bringing this project to life.
“To keep the good going, the Youth Cabinet will also make something special for schools in Portsmouth to help teachers and students talk about LGBTQ rights and how to be kind to everyone.”
The Youth Cabinet and their partners can be followed on social media: