Our flagship project was finally realised on 25.11.2023 when we opened Yinka Shonibare’s world-class art work, in memory of David Oluwale. It’s a hibiscus flower, almost ten meters high.

Yinka, a Fellow of the Royal Academy, awarded the CBE for his services to art, explained that he wanted to make a sculpture that reminded him of the pleasure he had as a boy in Nigeria sucking the sweetness from the hibiscus flower. He imagined David Oluwale had done so, too. In this four minute film, he says why he wanted to make this world-class work of art for us.

Bursting out of a hard, stony landscape, Hibiscus Rising represents the resilience, the energy, the beauty, and the creativity brought to Leeds by migrants like David. Hibiscus Rising symbolically returns David to his hopeful start in the early 1950s in Leeds, and it exemplifies the city’s aim to be more welcoming, more inclusive and more equal. This project was brilliantly managed by LEEDS2023 Festival of Culture and supported by Leeds City Council. Our opening ceremony included creative workshops at The Tetley art centre, hibiscus tea served on the sculpture site in Meadow Lane, the Yoruba Heritage drummers and dancers, poetry from our co-chair Emily Zobel Marshall and from Sai Murray, and songs by Daayuur. It was a truly inspiring event that brought joy to our hearts. (Hibiscus Rising evokes the famous poem by Maya Angelou “Still I Rise” — you can see her performing it here in 1987.)

© Gavin Morris


DOMA joined up with the Leeds African Communities Trust to celebrate the cultures of 17 of the African nations who have settled in Leeds. With six food-stalls, dance groups from several nations, various African DJs and a stunning fashion show, hundreds of people had a great time. It was held at on Saturday 24.2.2024 at TJs on Woodhouse Lane.

© Max Farrar


DOMA had a great new experience on 1.12.2023 with Chapel FM community radio station, bringing David’s story and the purpose of the Hibiscus Rising sculpture to a much wider audience. Chapel FM is an arts centre serving the Seacroft communities in Leeds. Listen here and ...
Hosted by Tony Macaluso (Director of Chapel FM) and Max Farrar ((DOMA co-secretary), panelists included the Leeds poets Chérie Taylor Battiste and Keith Fenton, Joe Williams (Heritage Corner), Arthur France MBE (founder of the United Caribbean Association and Leeds West Indian Carnival), Carole Edin, Arfan Hanif (CEO of Touchstone), and Chijoke John Ojukwu (Foresight and Equity Solutions). In Chapel FM’s vox pop of the opening ceremony for Hibiscus Rising you’ll hear, among others, Victoria Ajayi (DOMA Board member) and Sai Murray (former DOMA Board member). It’s a long programme but well worth your time. Click here to watch it and hear everything that was said.

© Chapel FM

© Max Farrar

DOMA co-chair Emily Zobel Marshall and Sai Murray, a former Board member of DOMA, have assembled an awe-inspiring set of poems, short stories and artworks in a new Anthology, just published by Peepal Tree Press and launched at The Tetley on 8.12.2023. You can buy it directly from DOMA at £15 plus P&P by emailing us at rememberoluwale.org or from the publishers. Click here for full information and a link to their sales department.


The artist Brian Phillip made this powerful woodcut depicting some of the harrowing moments in David’s life. Brian is offering it for sale at the reduced price of £150 plus P&P. (It is in a limited edition of 19 prints.)

[Exact details are: Image size: 1000mmx650mm.The print run/edition numbers from: 1-19. The images are printed on acid free, ragg wool paper. The paper will not discolour, neutral pH, 100% rag content. This material is of archival quality without any additional chemical treatment, museum grade.] Email us rememberoluwale.org if you are interested in purchasing.

History students at Leeds Beckett University, with their tutor Dr Henry Irving, have produced an amazing on-line resource explaining David’s life and the work we’ve done to commemorate him.

This event will launch their digital ‘public history’ project. 22nd April is Steven Lawrence Day, so we’ve linked up with the Ashley Pinnock (LBU Students Union) and Dr Glen Jankowski (Psychology, LBU), and this event will discuss Steven’s legacy as well as David’s.

You will hear about our project to create a special place in Aire Park for David Oluwale, featuring Yinka Shonibare’s Hibiscus Rising.

You’ll also get to see two ‘Oluwale themed’ films made by LBU Film School students: ‘Hounded’ (2021) by Connor Orton and ‘We Are All Migrants’ (2019) by Rowena Baldwin.

Connor Orton (Moondogs Productions) has made this wonderful (98 second) graphic film to promote this event. Please circulate it as widely as you can.

6-8pm, Tuesday 25.3.23, Leeds School of Arts, The Cinema, Upper Ground, Leeds Beckett University Portland Way, LS13HE.
Full information and tickets (free) here.


Hibiscus Rising will be opened in late November. We've launched an appeal to make the green site on Meadow Lane, Leeds 11, even more attractive and accessible. We need £15K. Could you possibly contribute -- any sum will make a difference? There are rewards! Here's the link to the Art Fund page which is hosting (and supporting) our appeal.
Thank you so much.

The Nice Up on Sunday 20th August 2023, from 2pm onwards

Curated by young people at The Geraldine Connor Foundation, this family-friendly event they describe as a “festival of Black joy and uplifting community vibes”. It comes in two parts... From 2pm there will be lots of things to engage children and
from 5pm the DJs among them will entertain the older generations.
At The Tetley. Facilitated by DOMA Board member Asher Jael.
Search Nice Up on Eventbrite for further information.

David Oluwale’s Leeds on Sunday 10th September 2023 (XAM and YPM)

Renowned historian of the Black presence in Leeds, Joe Williams (Heritage Corner) will lead a walk around Leeds in David Oluwale’s footsteps. You’ll visit places where David worked, went for a drink and a dance, where he slept rough, and where he was drowned. The musician and classically-trained singer Juwon Ogungbe will sing the three songs he composed for our events in 2019 commemorating 50 years since David was hounded to his death. Inspiring hope, we will cross the David Oluwale Bridge and visit the site where Hibiscus Rising will be installed. Assemble at . . . .

Joe Williams and Juwon Ogungbe among the walkers for their tour of David Oluwale’s Leeds, close to the point where David was drowned in April 1969. © Max Farrar, 19th April 2019.

The Big African Fundraiser on Friday 29th September, 6.30-11pm

To raise money for Hibiscus Rising and DOMA’s running costs, we offer you a fabulous night of multi-cultural entertainment and fine-dining, African style (catered by Toyin’s Aroma
It will be held at the prestigious Royal Armouries. We hope to be able to offer some cut-price tickets, but we need lots of you to pay the full price: £50 each. It’s in a good cause! If you can make a table booking from your organisation, so much the better. Please email rememberoluwale@gmail.com for your tickets.

Yinka Shonibare’s landmark sculpture for David Oluwale, Hibiscus Rising, will be installed in the Meadow Lane section of Aire Park at a ceremony in late November 2023. (For further info on the sculpture, including a film of Yinka talking about its maquette, see below.) Our programme of events leading up to this fabulous ‘place-making’ event is under way, in conjunction with the LEEDS2023 Festival of Culture. Here are our plans for the coming months as we introduce the sculpture to the people of Leeds.

Poets Rising (for David Oluwale) on Sunday 9th July 2023

Emerging poets are joined by published poets performing work they have developed in response to David’s story and the continuing relevance of the issues that afflicted his life.
2-4pm at The Tetley. Free, but please book here (where there is more info on the event)

One of the poets selected for Volume 2 of our Remembering Oluwale Anthology, Xabiso Vili, is unable to be with us in person. He’s sent us this short film of him reading his poem “Dear David”. It’s powerful. Please click here.

#RememberOluwale in a digital nutshell

Here’s a link to a new website by Leeds Beckett University which summarises David Oluwale’s life and the work of the DOMA charity in the clearest and most accessible way. We are super grateful to a team of history students in LBU’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, led by Dr Henry Irving, who created this site in their Public History module at LBU. Please have a good look at it and circulate the link far and wide!

History students at Leeds Beckett University, with their tutor Dr Henry Irving, have produced an amazing on-line resource explaining David’s life and the work we’ve done to commemorate him.

This event will launch their digital ‘public history’ project. 22nd April is Steven Lawrence Day, so we’ve linked up with the Ashley Pinnock (LBU Students Union) and Dr Glen Jankowski (Psychology, LBU), and this event will discuss Steven’s legacy as well as David’s.

You will hear about our project to create a special place in Aire Park for David Oluwale, featuring Yinka Shonibare’s Hibiscus Rising.

You’ll also get to see two ‘Oluwale themed’ films made by LBU Film School students: ‘Hounded’ (2021) by Connor Orton and ‘We Are All Migrants’ (2019) by Rowena Baldwin.

Connor Orton (Moondogs Productions) has made this wonderful (98 second) graphic film to promote this event. Please circulate it as widely as you can.

6-8pm, Tuesday 25.3.23, Leeds School of Arts, The Cinema, Upper Ground, Leeds Beckett University Portland Way, LS13HE.
Full information and tickets (free) here.

We’re in the process of organising some outdoor events (with an indoor option!) to talk about David and his relevance today and to draw everyone into Aire Park in preparation for the installation of Hibiscus Rising by Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA (see below). Full details will be available soon, but please hold these dates:

  • Spoken Words: Sunday 9th July: The Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art, LS10 1JQ
  • Music for Well-Being: Sunday 20th August 2023: 2-4pm, DJ sets from 4 - 8pm, The Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art, LS10 1JQ
  • David Oluwale’s Leeds: Sunday 10th September 2023. Assemble 2pm outside The Leeds Library, Commercial Street, LS1 6AL
Preparatory workshops:
  • A craft workshop for children at the Leeds City Museum in May.
  • Circus skills workshops in May and June.
  • A poetry workshop on 11th June.
Want to be involved in the workshops? Email: rememberoluwale@gmail.com

Illustration and design by Planit-IE, and on instagram.

Our flagship project, a special place where David Oluwale will be remembered and his significance today will be pondered, is well on its way. Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA is making Hibiscus Rising, to be installed in Aire Park, Leeds 11, in November 2023. Set in the Meadow Lane Green Space, you could use Leeds City Council’s David Oluwale footbridge across the River Aire from Sovereign Square to see this 10 metre high hibiscus flower. From David’s Bridge you can see Leeds Bridge, where Leeds Civic Trust’s Blue Plaque for David Oluwale is in place, overlooking the point where David was drowned in 1969.

This will be a major piece of public art, attracting visitors from all over the world, and we will ensure (via digital and print media and display boards) that this is a place with a purpose, where people can reflect on David’s life and death in Leeds from 1949 to 1969, and we will actively bring people together to address the issues that afflicted his life, and which scar our city to this day: homelessness, mental ill-health, racism, and police malpractice.

And of course, like all great public art, this world-class sculpture will generate business and develop the Leeds economy, as this report by Mott MacDonald demonstrates. (We are very grateful to Mott MacDonald for all the work they put into this report — which they did for free, just to support this project. Mott MacDonald is a global engineering, management and development consultancy.) Read the report here.

This major development for the city of Leeds is being managed by LEEDS2023 Festival of Culture and is fully supported by Leeds City Council. LEEDS2023 is also supporting many of the community-engagement events listed above.

Here’s a link to the short video on our YouTube channel where Yinka explains why he chose a hibiscus flower (and you can see the maquette of the sculpture being made). This video was made for us by a to b films.

Back in 2009 we discussed our idea for a memorial garden and sculpture for David Oluwale with the then leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Keith Wakefield. Sitting in with Keith was the redoubtable John Thorpe, the council’s City Architect.

They responded very positively to our proposal, and they showed us John Thorpe’s drawing for the proposed Aire Park development on the south bank of the River Aire. They suggested we made the Oluwale garden on the spare land at the rear of Asda’s HQ on Meadow Lane. John said he also wanted the council to build a footbridge over the river from Sovereign Square. This “Oluwale Sculpture Garden” would be a fine entry to the proposed Aire Park, they said.

But it turned out that Asda’s land was needed for the bridge itself, so we had to change our location. When they opened the bridge at a moving ceremony on 26th January 2023, the city council decided to call it the David Oluwale Bridge. How good was that? The BBC’s excellent report and photos are here.

At the opening of the David Oluwale Bridge, 26.1.2023. From left, front row: Cllr Abigail Marshall Katung, Dr Emily Zobel Marshall (DOMA co-chairs), Cllr James Lewis (Leader, LCC), Alison Lowe OBE (West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor), Arthur France MBE (Chair of Leeds West Indian Centre). © Max Farrar

The maquette of Yinka Shonibare’s Hibiscus Rising was moved in early January 2023 from The Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art to Leeds City Museum where it forms part of the inspiring new special exhibition at the museum titled ‘Overlooked’.

Curated by a group of young people, co-ordinated by museum staff member Jordan Keighley, the exhibition examines individuals and groups who are often ‘overlooked’ in public life, including the elderly, deaf people, enslaved Africans, child labourers, LGBTQ+ identities, the neurodiverse, and women in industry.

David Oluwale’s story is prominently featured. Police Cadet Gary Galvin’s personal scrapbook of the 1971 news coverage of the trial of Inspector Ellerker and Sergeant Kitching and some original papers from the court proceedings are among the exhibition’s highlights. Some films from our You Tube Channel can be seen in the exhibition.

Please get to see this important addition to the cultural landscape of Leeds if you can. Full information here.

With the help of technicians from The Tetley, we crated up the maquette of Hibiscus Rising, put it in the back of a truck, and showed it off in community centres in north, south, east and west Leeds.

Facilitators Saphra Bennett and Ruth Steinberg applied the ‘art of hosting’ method so that we could gather opinions about our proposed sculpture garden for David Oluwale, and about the “Oluwale issues” that still prevail across Leeds: mental ill-health, racism, homelessness and police malpractice (all in the context of a ‘hostile environment’ to people who settled here decades ago, or come here today seeking refuge).

The report we have produced is long, but it provides an important insight into how people are thinking about all these issues, and it shows huge appreciation for the city’s decision to make this special place in David Oluwale’s name.

In this report you’ll see striking new ways of representing people’s ideas — wonderful graphic work by Jon Dorset and Ruth Steinberg’s remarkable ‘found poems’. (This piece of work was funded by Arts Council England, and we are very grateful for their support.)

Download the report here.

The artist Jon Dorset captured people’s responses to the David Oluwale garden, with Yinka Shonibare’s sculpture, at each of the community meetings in north, south, east and west Leeds. Photo and artwork © Jon Dorsett.

Yes, we cemented the Leeds Civic Trust Blue Plaque for David 0luwale in place and it's still there.
We dealt racism a double blow in the surge of support when it was stolen, and in the pleasure and creativity we generated at the new installation on Leeds Bridge and at the festival inside The Tetley. This short film captures the fun we had. The film features Dr. Emily Zobel Marshall, DOMA co-Chair, Arthur France MBE, who organised the picket of the court in 1971 when David's killers were on trial, Lara-Rose, who contributed to Joe Williams walk-talk, David Oluwale's Leeds, and Cllr Abigail Marshall Katung, DOMA co-Chair. (Film credit: moondogsproductions)

Many of you will remember Volume 1.
We're now calling for more poetry and short stories responding to David's life and death and its contemporary relevance.
Volume 2 will also include graphics, fine art and photos responding to David and thus will be in a larger format. Have a look at this site if you'd like to contribute a poem or a story and upload your work. Please tell your friends about this, too.
The creative outpouring in response to David's story is one of the ways that we generate resistance to oppression, and hope and progress, in Leeds and beyond.

Here's an opportunity to see and hear about David Oluwale and the work of our charity. Dr Emily Zobel Marshall is our co-chairperson (and a Reader in Postcolonial Literature at Leeds Beckett University) — here is in an engaging online interview with Prof Hannah Sherbersky, CEO of the Association for Family Therapy, telling David's story and explaining its relevance today.

Until 8th January 2023 The Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art (in Leeds) is displaying the beautiful maquette of Yinka Shonibare's 'Hibiscus Rising' for David Oluwale. The exhibition includes landscape drawings and a short film of the maquette being made, with Yinka explaining his thoughts about David. It's well worth the trip! Further information about the exhibition is here.
If you can't get there, at least check out the film of the maquette with Yinka speaking about his ideas for the art-work below. (Film credit: a to b productions.)

If you'd like to contribute to our funds, please buy our merchandise — click here and scroll down to see the full list of what we have produced to further our cause.
You'll see new stuff - our Greetings Card, featuring the illustration of Hibiscus Rising as it will appear in Aire Park in autumn 2023, a fine art poster and postcard, a lapel pin, as well as our Tee shirt (with Yinka's batique design) and more.
AND there are links to Give As You Live and Smile.Amazon, where you can effortlessly get money into our account each time you shop online. Every little helps.

Remembering Oluwale book cover
Hibiscus Rising Maquette at The Tetley.
Hibiscus Rising - Illustration of proposed sculpture siting.

Check out this important event with Lee Lawrence, who has written a book about the shooting of his mother Cherry Groce at a botched police raid in Tottenham, London, in 1985. It’s at Trinity University in Leeds at 10.30am and in Chapeltown in Leeds at 5.30pm on 12.10.2022. Full information and booking is here.

You can read about the raid and its impact on Lee in a fascinating article here.

Flying in the face of the pitifully small group of racists who stole the original plaque (installed on 25th April), we will unveil a new Blue Plaque for David Oluwale on Leeds Bridge at 1pm on Sunday 23.20.2022, whatever the weather. Then we will go to The Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art (nearby) from about 1.20 for an afternoon of food, music, dance and poetry in The Tetley’s South Bank Room.

Full details here. It’s free, but you must register (there’s only space for 150 people, standing). And please check out our films of speeches at the original installation in April on our YouTube channel here.

The Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art is staging a fabulous exhibition, whose main attraction is the model of Hibiscus Rising, the sculpture Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA is making for the David Oluwale Memory Garden in Aire Park. It’s on until 8.1.2023. Thanks to the support of Leeds City Council, LEEDS 2023 Festival of Culture is managing the fund-raising, and installation of the 9.5 metre high sculpture is planned for autumn 2023.

The Tetley’s exhibition includes illustrations of how the sculpture will look and materials from our community engagement programme, where we took the maquette to community centres in north, south, east and west Leeds, holding conversations with local people about the relevance of the “David Oluwale issues” today. Full information on the exhibition is here. DISCUSS THE YINKA SHONIBARE SCULPTURE WITH US ON 26TH OCTOBER

Leeds City Library has invited us to give a talk about the David Oluwale Memory Garden and its sculpture, Hibiscus Rising by Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA on Wednesday 26.10.22 at 6.30pm. Please join us if you can. Full info here.

Our aims for this sculpture garden, and an article setting out our thinking, is here.
You can see Yinka speaking about his ideas about the sculpture on our You Tube channel here.

Cherry Groce with her brother Mervin in 1987, at the Old Bailey trial of the police officer who shot her. Photograph: courtesy of Lee Lawrence.

Cllr Abigail Marshall Katung and Dr Emily Zobel Marshall (DOMA co-chairs) with Victoria Ajayi, DOMA Board member, at the Blue Plaque installation on Leeds Bridge, 25.4.2022 © Max Farrar

Maquette of Hibiscus Rising and photo-film of Yinka Shonibare at the community engagement event at Left Bank, 5.7.2022 © Max Farrar

Copy of an item at The Tetley exhibition: an architectural render of Hibiscus Rising in Aire Park, courtesy ©Planit-IE / ©Virtual Planit. Photo © Jules Lister

David Oluwale Sculpture Garden Community Engagement Events June-July 2022
The people of Leeds (and everywhere else) are invited to see Yinka Shonibare’s maquette (model) of the sculpture that is being planned for the Meadow Lane section of Aire Park, near the River Aire, (Aire Park is currently being constructed around The Tetley Art Centre). And there will be a short film of the maquette being made while Yinka explains what this proposed sculpture means to him. This project is being managed by LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture in conjunction with Leeds City Council and DOMA. Funding permitting, the sculpture will be installed in 2023.

Four community engagements events are taking place in south, west, north and east Leeds (all from 6 - 7.30pm):

Wednesday 29th June, at The Hamara Healthy Living Centre, Beeston. Full information here.

Tuesday 5th July at Left Bank Centre, Burley. Full information here.

Thursday 7th July at Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton. Full information here.

Tuesday 12th July at Old Fire Station, Gipton Full information here.

There will be some short introductions followed by café-style discussions about the Oluwale issues (migration, mental health, homelessness, racism, police malpractice) — and how the David Oluwale Memory Garden might be used to contribute to making Leeds a more welcoming, inclusive and equal city for ALL its residents.

The Meadow Lane Green Space
Professor Caryl Phillips, DOMA Founding Patron, speaking in the Meadow Lane Green Space, 25.4.22 © Max Farrar

A Leeds Civic Trust Blue Plaque for David Oluwale installed — and stolen
After a moving ceremony in the Meadow Lane Green space on 25th April 2022, followed by poetry from Ian Duhig and the David Oluwale Choir singing Leeds United fans’ songs for David Oluwale, arranged by Ellen Smith, DOMA Founding Patron Caryl Phillips unveiled a Blue Plaque for David Oluwale. Four hours later it was stolen. A storm of protest sprung up, spearheaded by the Yorkshire Evening Post. JCDeceaux gave photos of the plaque on its digital screens across Leeds. Awesome Merchandise gave us stickers of the Blue Plaque, which popped up everywhere. Cllr Jonathan Pryor made a temporary replacement which then got torn in half. Leeds Civic Trust launched a Crowdfunded and lots of money came in. The BBC website reported the police decision to treat this as a hate crime. Two people were later arrested. A new Plaque is being made and another installation is being planned for early September.

Harry Meadley’s 45 minute film of the Blue Plaque Ceremony is on our You Tube Channel. It gives a full flavour of this moving and important moment in the story of Leeds. Please click on the photo of Cllr Abigail Marshall Katung, DOMA co-chair, to see the film.

Ellen Smith and the David Oluwale Choir sing Leeds United fans’ songs for David Oluwale beside the Blue Plaque on Leeds Bridge, 26.4.2022. © Max Farrar
Yorkshire Evening Post, 27.4.2022
Clay Pit Lane, Leeds. Thanks to JCDeceux, the Blue Plaque for David Oluwale was seen all over Leeds

A new film about David and DOMA
Harry Meadley made this short film for us, supporting our effort to install a Blue Plaque for David Oluwale. You’ll see DOMA Board members telling David’s story and explaining why it’s so important, and the Director of Leeds Civic Trust explaining their decision to award a Blue Plaque for David. Only six minutes long, the film packs a punch. (It’s on our YouTube Channel: RememberOluwale — please subscribe!)

DOMA Co-Chair Dr Emily Zobel Marshall, at the point where David Oluwale was drowned in 1969, preparing to speak about David in Harry Meadley’s film, 13.7.2021. © Max Farrar

New Merch!
Thanks to Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA and our friends at welcomeleeds.com we now have our own Tee shirt. Yinka (who is making the sculpture for David Oluwale, to be installed in Meadow Lane in 2023) gave us the design and DOMA gets an advert on the back.

Only £20 including P&P; all profits go to DOMA. Email us now for yours (stating the size you want): rememberoluwale@gmail.com There’s more DOMA merchandise on our HELP page.

Anna Scott-Brown (Overtone Productions) and Tony Phillips made a marvellous 60 minute radio documentary for the BBC about David Oluwale (broadcast on 16.10.2021). It told David’s story and commented on its relevance today by assembling interviews with all sorts of people. It was very well received and —if you haven’t heard it already — please listen to it now. It’s available here on BBC Sounds:

For the radio documentary, Tony Phillips commissioned Leeds singer-songwriter Ellen Smith to arrange and sing the songs that Leeds United fans sang after the trial of Ellerker and Kitching in 1971 (included in Kester Aspden’s riveting book The Hounding of David Oluwale (2008)). The two songs were then recorded by Ellen and can be heard on her Bandcamp site, along with the song she recorded for a documentary about Leeds United. Listen here. Ellen has kindly donated proceeds from the Oluwale songs to DOMA.

Ellen is helping us create The David Oluwale Choir. It will perform her new arrangements of the Leeds United David Oluwale songs at the unveiling on the Blue Plaque for David Oluwale on Leeds Bridge on 25th April (see event listing below). More information about the choir is here. Contact us at rememberoluwale@gmail.com if you’d like to join. No experience necessary — everyone is welcome.

DOMA Co-Chair Cllr Abigail Marshall Katung and DOMA Board member Chloe Hudson modelling our new Tees at Welcome Skate Store (1-12 Thornton’s Arcade, Leeds LS1 6LQ). © Max Farrar


Monday 25th April 2022: Unveiling a new Blue Plaque

In partnership with Leeds Civic Trust, we are unveiling the Blue Plaque for David Oluwale on Monday 25th April 2022, at 5pm, on Leeds Bridge — very close to the point where Inspector Ellerker and Sergeant Kitching caused David to drown in the River Aire. This will be almost exactly 53 years since that fateful morning (on 18th April 1969). Everyone is welcome to join us on the bridge for this historic event.

There will be a short speech from our founding Patron, Caryl Phillips. (His essay on David in his book Foreigners — Three English Lives (2007) prompted us to form the David Oluwale Memorial Association.)

Our co-Chair Cllr Abigail Marshall Katung; Jane Taylor, Chair of Leeds Civic Trust; Alison Lowe OBE, Deputy Mayor of West Yorkshire for Crime and Policing; and Detective Chief Superintendent Carl Galvin, son of Police Cadet Gary Galvin, who exposed the crimes against David Oluwale, will also say a few words.

They will be accompanied by the David Oluwale Choir, singing the songs composed by Leeds United fans after the imprisonment of Inspector Ellerker and Sergeant Kitching in 1971. (Versions of these songs, by Ellen Smith, can be heard here. Ellen will train the David Oluwale Choir. If you’d like to join the choir, please get in touch: rememberoluwale@gmail.com.)
And there will be poetry specially written for David Oluwale by Ian Duhig and Joel Leigh.

Attendance is ‘pay as you feel’ — we need to control the numbers (Leeds Bridge will be open to traffic) so please let us know you are coming by entering your information into this Eventbrite form.
Afterwards, everyone is welcome to come with us to The Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art (just over the Bridge) for a drink and conversation.

We are very grateful to Leeds Civic Trust and Leeds Inspired for their support for this event.

Some members of the DOMA Board at the point on Leeds Bridge where the Blue Plaque for David Oluwale will be installed on 25th April 2022. L-R: Cllr Abigail Marshall Katung, Dr Emily Zobel Marshall, Victoria Ajayi, Peter Hindle-Marsh and Chloe Hudson, 5th June 2021. © Max Farrar

Tuesday 26th April 2022: Caryl Phillips

Caryl Phillips, DOMA’s founding patron, will be in conversation with DOMA Co-Chair Dr Emily Zobel Marshall, explaining the creative response he and other artists have made to David Oluwale’s life and death, at 5pm on 26th April in The Leeds Library (the one on Commercial Street next to the Co-Op Bank). And DOMA Secretary Max Farrar will present a short summary of a chapter he wrote debating whether or not David Oluwale might be considered a secular martyr. Further information and registration details (as usual, the event is ‘pay as you feel’) are here.

This event will be followed by a creative writing workshop with students at Leeds Beckett University, which will contribute to Volume 2 of the Remembering Oluwale Anthology. (Volume 1 is available here.)

We are very grateful to the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities at LBU and The Leeds Library for their support for this event..

Caryl Phillips carylphillips.com © Max Farrar


Progress has been made on the Yinka Shonibare Sculpture project — the iconic art at the heart of the David Oluwale Memory Garden to be launched in 2023. We are immensely grateful to Leeds 2023 and Arts Council England for granting us money to commission a maquette (model) of the sculpture Yinka Shonibare CBE has designed for us.


The DOMA Board has developed its not-for-profit business strategy for 2021-24. This includes ambitious plans for a programme of arts events, discussion panels, and an annual lecture, all linked to David Oluwale’s story and its relevance today. It includes implementing the Oluwale Memory Garden sculpture, and outlining an idea for a David Oluwale Digital Cultural Centre. Contact us at rememberoluwale@gmail.com if you’d like to read our plans.


If you’d like to help us please check this link.
Please like us and follow us on the #RememberOluwale pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our You Tube channel.

The Yinka Shonibare Sculpture in the David Oluwale Memory Garden

After several years of preparatory work, we announced in 2021 that the internationally celebrated artist, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, will create a new sculpture as a hopeful, beautiful, forward-looking tribute to David Oluwale. The maquette (model) will be on display at The Tetley Art Centre from 9th September 2022 to 8th January 2023.

Thanks to the support of Leeds City Council and the LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture, Yinka's sculpture will be installed in Meadow Lane in the new Aire Park, close to the new David Oluwale Bridge (funding permitting). This is in the city centre, just south of the River Aire, near to the point where David was drowned in 1969. This will be a very special place which will be regularly animated by a programme of performances (music, spoken work, dance).

This will be a space in which all the diverse populations of Leeds can come together to contemplate the city’s past and forge a compassionate, inclusive and socially just city. It will open in 2023.

An article by DOMA Secretary Max Farrar about the thinking behind the memorial garden was published in the journal Moving Worlds in 2017. You can download the article here.

The David Oluwale Bridge

In another recognition of the significance of David’s story and its relevance today, Leeds City Council has decided to name its new footbridge over the River Aire after David. The bridge will link Meadow Lane to Sovereign Square, making the Memory Garden and sculpture highly accessible. Read the BBC’s story about this here.

Partnerships are the key

DOMA’s success to date is heavily dependent on the many and various partnerships we have. We are delighted to have formed a new partnership with the Geraldine Connor Foundation. We contributed to their 2021 ‘Locks to Legacies’ summer programme of work with young people. And, if our funding bid is successful, a group of young people who are linked to GCF will lead the arts programme that will animate the Meadow Lane area on a couple of Saturdays this summer (2022).

We have reached this point because of the enormous support we have had from our many and various partners, including, from the start, Councillor Keith Wakefield (while leader of Leeds City Council), Nigerian Community Leeds and Leeds West Indian Centre. Key to recent developments have been Baroness Judith Blake, (while leader of Leeds City Council), and Kully Thiarai, Creative Director of the Leeds 2023 cultural festival. Leeds City Council continues to be a major supporter of our project. We thank them all very much.

We are also immensely grateful to Arts Council England, Leeds 2023, Leeds Civic Trust and many private donors (including Lord and Lady Harewood’s Charitable Settlement and The National Skateboard Co.) for getting us to this stage of the project.

Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture II (at his exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2013). © Yinka Shonibare CBE
The new bridge will become part of the wider regeneration of the city centre's South Bank area
The David Oluwale poster campaign © Garry Clarkson www.garryclarkson.com

The #RememberOluwale charity believes that David Oluwale was hounded to his death by two Leeds’ policemen in the early hours of 18th April 1969. We held a series of events from 17th to 23rd April 2019 to remember David’s story, to help the city of Leeds come to terms with his abjection, and to inspire energy, compassion and commitment to make progress on all the issues he reminds us of: mental ill-health, homelessness, racism, police malpractice and more. For our campaign, the artist Rasheed Araeen inspired this photo (above) of David Oluwale to be installed all over Leeds. We are grateful to the photographer Garry Clarkson for recording this art intervention and for allowing us to reproduce his photos.

50th anniversary events poster © Andrew Edwards. Photo © Garry Clarkson

Spreading The Word

We have some David Oluwale merchandise that might make good presents.

David’s Map: A quick way of understanding the full story of David Oluwale’s life and death is to consult this map, designed for us by Sai Murray. We are selling these for £2.

Spreading The Word

David’s Pens: We’ve also got these branded high-quality pens for sale at £2.

David’s Book: And we still have some copies of our Remembering Oluwale Anthology (ed. SJ Bradley) for sale at £8.99. This contains articles and poems about David by well-known people such as Caryl Phillips, Ian Duhig, Kester Aspden and Linton Kwesi Johnson, as well as new work by emerging writers and poets reflecting on David Oluwale.

Andy Edwards’ design for our leaflet for the 50th anniversary events

GOOD MEDIA for #DavidOluwale50th


The events we organised in April 2019, commemorating 50 years since David was hounded to his death in the River Aire in Leeds got lots of coverage in the mainstream media.

Here’s ITV Calendar News on the 50th anniversary of David’s death

Here’s ITV’s item linking David’s death to the death of Christopher Alder in police custody in Hull 20 years ago, featuring Janet Alder and DOMA Patron Ruth Bundey

BBC Look North covered the event at David’s graveside but so far we only have this iPhone copy late evening broadcast

The Yorkshire Evening Post also reported our work:

Yorkshire Evening Post's article about the David Oluwale graveside event: 

And Anthony Clavane’s column in the Yorkshire Post explained how DOMA uses art to spread our message

The BBC provided this story online about the impact of David's death on Leeds:

And Tom Overton in the national London Review of Books said this

David Oluwale poster campaign

We teamed up with the artists Rasheed Araeen (London) and Andy Edwards (Leeds) to produce a huge poster campaign all over the city. Rasheed is the first fine artist to respond to the killing of David Oluwale. His For Oluwale 1971-3/19755 was recently on display in Rasheed’s exhibition at The Baltic in Gateshead. His For Oluwale 2 (1987) was at The Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art in Leeds from February until early June this year. Rasheed prompted us to print 100 huge posters of the police photo of David Oluwale (the only image we have) and have them installed on the PopArt barrels across Leeds. He wanted the image, with no words, to provoke memories and questions.

One example of the Rasheed Araeen ‘For Oluwale 3’ poster campaign © Garry Clarkson

These posters, as we hoped, prompted this article in the Yorkshire Evening Post:

Andy Edwards designed this huge poster for us to display on three of PopArt’s billboard:

Andy Edwards’ billboard advert for our events, on York Street, Leeds © Max Farrar

A version of this image appeared on PopArt’s barrels across the city

Andy Edwards’ poster on Chapeltown Road, Leeds 7 © Max Farrar

And here it is on the digital screen in Kirkstall market:

Andy Edwards’ poster on the screen in Kirkstall market, Leeds. © Max Farrar


Our flagship project is the creation of a memorial garden in the centre of Leeds, close to the River Aire, that will help us to remember David, and to promote a hopeful and creative city here in Leeds.

Our vision is that the Memorial Garden is a beautiful, joyful place where:

  • everyone is welcome
  • there is sanctuary for all who are vulnerable
  • the diversity of the cultures in Leeds is expressed
  • quiet reflection is possible
  • debate about the issues facing the city of Leeds may take place
  • pleasure and conviviality are to be enjoyed
  • social justice is promoted
  • growth takes place — in flora and fauna, and in the lives of individuals and groups
  • creativity in all its forms (music, film, art etc) abounds
  • performance (spoken word, drama, dance etc) is produced
  • and the gardens will be playful places, attractive to people of all ages and types.

A full account of DOMA’s thinking about the Memorial Garden was published in the journal Moving Worlds. You can download it here.

Keep Up To Date with #RememberOluwale

RememberOluwale uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to provide information published today that relates to the issues that marked David’s life: mental ill-health, homelessness, racism, destitution and police malpractice. David was a British citizen who migrated here, so we also provide information relating to those seeking refuge in the UK. We give credit to the city of Leeds for the progress it has made since David’s days. But there is so much more to be done. Our aim, always, is to help the city of Leeds become more inclusive, more just, more hospitable and more equal. Please go to our social media to find out about current campaigns.

David Oluwale Memorial Association. A registered charity No. 1151426. A company limited by guarantee No. 8107693.