Portsmouth Pride supports youth art workshop in Southsea

Volunteers from Portsmouth Pride turned up for Engendering Change's youth art workshops on 16th July, at which young people discovered the power of street art to change the world.

Young people from 4U, Motiv8 LGBTQ group and school Pride societies took part and created stickers and collaborative community art, and spray painted hoodies to take home. 

The art process was very laidback, with attendees being assured by Mister Samo and Fark, "There's no pressure whatsoever". Young people sat and doodled as they chatted, while out the back of the studio, spray paint of all colours of the rainbow was flicked and stencilled before being left to dry. When all the young people had finished making their creations, we even spotted some adult attendees popping out back to commission a one-off art hoodie from the artists in residence, or get their hands dirty to make their own! 

Alice from the youth cabinet gave a speech over a lunch of sandwiches, crisps and fruit, then introduced other speakers. 

Councillor Chris Atwell said: "I don’t think we’ve needed our allies more than we need them right now. Thank you to the youth for everything you’re doing here in Portsmouth". 

Chair of Portsmouth Pride Tally Aslam said: "It’s hugely important that you use your voices to champion the things that are important to you, and what we wanna do is make sure that Portsmouth is a safe space for the whole of the LGBTQ+ community and that does include our allies. So let’s champion each other’s voices, and hold each other up, because Pride is still a protest". 

Councillor Suzy Horton said: "It makes me so happy to see so many people here who are connected in different ways. Life’s about connections with different people from different communities. And so to walk in here, and to see Steph, and to see people from Pride, and to see Samo, and to see Fark, to see all these people in the community who are leaders in their own right, and to see young people who are leading, is the best version of creating the best city".

Street artist and activist Mister Samo ended the speeches by saying: "The fact that the youth cabinet exists and that you put forward LGBTQ rights literally warms my heart and [is] why I do what I do. Not just as a street artist taking up space but doing things like this, with allies like Fark and seeing councillors and Pride here, all of this literally unity together. When I was growing up in Portsmouth, when I was your age, this wasn’t even something that was being talked about. I had a rough time in Portsmouth when I was growing up. To be here now, I guess as a transgender elder with you guys, seeing how passionate you are with your voices - we can do this, we want change, talking to MPs - be aware that you guys inspire all of us adults to do what we do. We’re no different: the councillors, to the artists, all of us, to you guys. I just wanna say thank you to you, because you guys are the reason that we’re doing what we’re doing." 

Thank you to everyone present for letting us share your space, enjoy your creative output and witness you championing young LGBTQ+ people - we look forward to seeing more eye popping and world changing artwork in Portsmouth and beyond!

By Abi (She/Her)

Volunteer Copywriter, Portsmouth Pride