The artist behind the popular mural of Muhammad Ali in St Leonards has explained why he wanted to pay tribute to the boxing legend.
Aaron Hosannah, professional graffiti artist, painted the large mural on the wall of the Shelter charity shop on the corner of Saxon Road and London Road in central St Leonards.
He said: “Ali was someone I followed and was interested in for years.
“I wanted to pay respect to him and bring someone of such high status to St Leonards, which is an up-and-coming area. He is an icon people can look up to.
“While I was painting the mural around 100 people came up and said how fantastic it was.”
Aaron approached the Shelter charity shop to ask if he could paint the mural outside the premises because he felt it would brighten up the area.
The artist has painted murals across Europe in cities like Paris and Amsterdam and works with various youth groups, helping to brighten up community areas.
He has also worked with companies such as Red Bull and Samsung.
Ali died on June 3, aged 74 after a 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century.
Ali made his professional boxing debut in October 1960, winning a six-round decision over Tunney Hunsaker.
In 1964, he converted to Islam, changed his ‘slave’ name to Ali, and gave a message of racial pride for African Americans during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
In March 1966, Ali refused to be inducted into the armed forces, was denied a boxing license in every US state and stripped of his passport.
As a result, he did not fight from March 1967 to October 1970. His conviction was overturned in 1971.
During this time of inactivity, as opposition to the Vietnam War began to grow, he spoke at colleges across the nation, criticising the war.
Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome in 1984, a disease that sometimes results from head trauma from activities such as boxing.
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