Inspiring Captain Tom mural chosen for Free Wharf development in Shoreham
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The artwork by Julio Cesar Osorio, featuring Captain Sir Tom Moore, the Red Arrows and the words ‘thank you NHS’, won a competition run by Southern Housing Group, the housing association building 540 homes on the former Minelco site in Brighton Road.
Jeremy Barkway, strategic partnership manager, said: “We are beyond delighted to see Captain Sir Tom Moore’s iconic image at our site.
“With all the hardships coming from this pandemic, he represents community spirit and togetherness, which are values that we hold in high regard at Southern Housing Group.
“Despite the impact of lockdowns, we are pleased with the progress of the work on site and can’t wait to see the local community thriving after the pandemic.”
The competition was open to all Southern Housing Group residents and Julio chose to depict wartime and pandemic hero Captain Tom, who raised more than £33million for NHS Charities Together in the run-up to his 100th birthday by walking laps of his garden.
Julio said: “I wanted the piece to pay tribute to those who have worked so hard to keep the country going throughout the pandemic, including NHS staff and, of course, our hero Captain Tom.
“I am grateful to be able to share this with the local community in Shoreham and bring some joy to passers-by.”
Julio has been through a journey of his own, discovering his artistic talent at the lowest point of his life. He says his story is ‘about the power art has to heal and transform people’s lives in the darkest times’.
A self-taught painter, his journey began after landing in prison, he explains on his website www.juliocesarts.com
Just as Julio was achieving recognition as a freelance photojournalist through his studio work, he received a prison sentence following an altercation with a nightclub doorman near his studio in September 2012.
He took up art classes during his jail term and produced 60 paintings, each tagged with an HM Prison clothing label to show the origin of the work.
In November 2018, Julio was selected as a finalist for the newcomer category of the Global Arts Awards Dubai, followed by being listed as an artist in Artprice, the world leader in auction databases in 2019.
Now, Julio’s winning Captain Tom artwork has gained attention and praise from organisations such as Hope House and Positive Youth Power, which are using it to front a joint fundraising effort that aims to support the building of 400 affordable homes for NHS workers.
Southern Housing Group says it has been steadily progressing its plans to bring 160 new affordable homes to Shoreham Harbour as part of its Free Wharf development, which was granted planning permission in 2018.