A new sculpture created by Basingstoke’s youth has been unveiled to help raise awareness of violence and its consequences in town.

Reveal/Conceal, a sculpture created by young people at Ashwood Academy, Hampshire Youth Offending and YMCA Basingstoke, has been unveiled and is now on public display in the atrium at The Orchard on White Hart Lane.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s cabinet member for communities, planning and infrastructure, Cllr Simon Bound, said: “It is important that we talk openly about serious violence and knife crime and understand the life changing consequences this has for victims and their families to tackle this important issue.

“The Basingstoke Peace Project has allowed young people in the borough to talk about their worries and given them the opportunity to think about this complex and emotional issue in a different way, through the creation of this important piece of public art, which I hope will inspire other young people to think about our collective role as a borough in tackling knife crime.”

The Basingstoke Peace Project aims to raise awareness of the consequences of knife crime and promote positive activities for young people, following a series of violent crimes in the town over the past few years.

Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT) developed a series of creative sessions with the aim of giving young people a safe space for discussion, as well as opportunities to learn new skills in contributing to an artwork. Artist Jono Retallick worked with young people to design a piece of art that incorporates their personal reflections on knife crime and represents peace.

The finished design is made up of 144 tiles created by the young people that reveals the words and marks of their individual thoughts, concerns and also their strengths. These were then cast by the artist to create a final sculpture.

Deborah Neubauer, head of community at HCT, said: “Arts and creative learning can have such an impact in helping to prevent the violence which unfortunately can become a part of so many young people’s lives.

“This project intervened at an early stage, giving young people the opportunity to express themselves creatively, to learn in a safe and trusted environment and to showcase the work they have produced to their peers.”