42896 The Co-Operative 15/11/21 Leechs Funeral Care mural unveiling. Picture by Chris Bull / UNP

Co-op Funeralcare, the UK’s leading provider of funeral services, has today unveiled a huge hand-painted, external mural in Moss Side, celebrating Ekua Bayunu and Angela Ankeli, Founders of Global Arts Manchester, to reflect the Co-op Groups’ commitment to supporting and championing black individuals and communities, beyond Black History Month.

Co-op Funeralcare worked with the local community to nominate and champion inspirational figures who have made an impact on the lives of those living in their local area. The striking black and white mural, which measures 4.2m x 3m, captures Ekua and Angela, to celebrate their contribution to the local community.

Supported by Co-op’s Local Community Fund, Global Arts Manchester is a non-profit organisation on a mission to make things better for artists and audiences from culturally diverse or economically challenged backgrounds. Founded by Ekua Bayunu, Angela Ankeli, Lorraine Ballintine, and Aduke Finni, the organisation provides training and opportunities for a career in the arts to people from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as creating sustainable and affordable studio space for female artists and delivering community workshops and exhibitions across Manchester.

Ekua Bayunu, Founder and Chair of Global Arts Manchester, said: “We want to dedicate this mural to all the amazing activists of Moss Side who we’ve worked tirelessly alongside for many, many years. So many unsung heroes, not just of yesteryear, but now!”

Sam Tyrer, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare, said: “It is an honour for one of Co-op’s stunning murals to feature on the exterior of our Leech’s funeral home in Moss Side. Supporting communities is at the heart of what we do, and we hope this incredible work of art reflects our commitment to campaign for race diversity, inclusivity and equality, and is a real testament to the incredible communities of Manchester.”

Three hand painted exterior murals will appear in different cities of the UK, the first of which was unveiled in London two weeks ago, each representing a significant Black individual from each community. The decision to create three public murals was driven by a focus group of Black Co-op leaders and colleagues, with the ambition to spotlight and uplift the voices and causes being championed by Black individuals within the community, and continue the dialogue around race and identity within the business and with customers beyond Black History Month alone.

Throughout Black History Month, Co-op hosted educational events, panel discussions and listening circles for colleagues to share their experiences and stories that celebrate the lives of Black colleagues and their career progression, and cultural celebrations.


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