The international street art collective known as DuDug have taken on the challenge of transforming the Duke of Lancaster into a graffiti gallery with hopes of attracting new tourists.

Graffiti artists transform abandoned ship into an outdoor Gallery
Wales Area - FEB 14, 2013

Art can bring beauty to practically any place, even to an abandoned cruise liner on the coast of North Wales. The ghostly ship, known as the Duke of Lancaster, has been docked since 1979, when it was left to rust on a dry dock on the beach of Llanerch-y-Mor. Ever since then, it has been waiting for someone to really pay attention to its future. Last year, DuDug began The Black Duke project with the goal of transforming the metal giant into a monumental canvas for artistic interventions. 

The project was started by Maurice Blunt, a former street artist now more involved in events coordination. Her long term idea is to turn the cruise liner into the largest outdoor gallery of the UK. 

Since the project’s launch, world famous artists have left their mark on the ship’s carcass, which now shows eight large scale works that include contributions by Lora Zombie, with a grunge styled piece, Fat Heat with a large scale monster, and Fin DAC with a beautiful image of a geisha hidden behind the ship’s dock. One of the most impressive works is Council of monkeys a huge 121m2 portrait of the Council by the French artist, Goin. 

The Duke was built in 1956, by the designers of the Titanic, Harland and Wolff. In the late 1970’s and 1980’s the ship was one of North Wales most popular tourist attraction, serving as a leisure complex, complete with silver service restaurants and luxurious cabin. The fate of the Duke was sealed in 1979, when it was docked in the middle of disputes with the council. In 1984, the ship was left unused and docked when the owners were not able to continue their plan for the ship. Twenty eight years later, the interior of the ship is still in good conditions, with practically all the objects in the same place. 

While the future of the project is still uncertain, Blunt says she has 22 artists signed up to collaborate in the project and is negotiating with many more famous artists. 


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