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Artist uses fists to paint powerful portrait of bisexual teen beaten for ‘not being straight’

Lily Wakefield June 30, 2021
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Josh Ormrod after he was attacked, and his portrait in Cardiff city centre

Josh Ormrod after he was attacked, and his portrait in Cardiff city centre. (Instagram/ josh.ormrod and Twitter/ NathanWyburnArt)

After a bisexual student was battered in an alleged hate crime, an artist painted a powerful portrait of his injuries using his fists.

Josh Ormrod, 19, was left bloodied and bruised in a horrific unprovoked attack in Liverpool earlier this month.

The attacker reportedly hurled homophobic slurs during the attack, and Ormrod believes he was targeted “based purely on the fact that I am not straight”.

Ormrod shared photos of his shocking injuries to social media, which have since gone viral.

When artist Nathan Wyburn, 31, based in Cardiff, saw the post, he “just knew [he] needed to do something with it”.

Wyburn told the Liverpool Echo: “I saw a lot of friends sharing it over Instagram. I am gay myself, and a member of the community, so having witnessed and experienced homophobia in my lifetime as well, growing up in south Wales, it was quite tough.”

He decided to paint a portrait of Ormrod using his fists, hanging paper on the wall and dipping his knuckles into paint.

Explaining his method, he said: “When I use unconventional materials or create in unconventional ways, I try to link the way I do it to the subject matter.

“So when I thought about this portrait for Josh, I just knew I had to do it with my fists.”

Creating the painting was an emotional and “physical” process, Wyburn said, but it made for “one of the most powerful pieces” he’s ever done.

“When I was physically punching, I was almost putting myself in the position of the abuser,” he added.

Wyburn is now exhibiting the work in the middle of Cardiff, opposite the gay cabaret bar Mary’s, to raise “awareness that this is still happening”.

Responding to the artwork, Ormrod said he was grateful to Wyburn for “helping to raise awareness about the attacks the LGBT+ community has been facing”, and added: “It’s absolutely mental to me that, not only did a successful artist want to use my pictures for a piece of his art, but also for that work to then be displayed in a busy city as an act of solidarity and defiance.”

Related topics: Cardiff, Hate crime

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