The Poynton Terrace wall that was painted out by the Auckland City Council under specific direction from the anti-graffiti taskforce is now been officially put out for tender to paint a replacement artwork.
This wall has a very contentious backstory: essentially a wall that has been painted largely by TMD and RFC for over the last 10 years (it’s partner on the opposite side of the laneway was demolished to make way for the Chatham a few years ago). Earlier this year council contractors painted out the mural that was in place (by Askew, Berst and Deus) and when questioned expressed their reluctance and hesistancy in painting out what was clearly a legitimate piece of art. They checked directly with their supervisor Tony Crampton who insisted that they were to proceed.
In the following fallout that included a 1000 plus signature petition expressing the outrage at the councils actions, and Len Brown appearing on Russell Brown’s show Media 7(skip to chapter 2), and clearly stating it was a mistake of the contractor and then avoiding the specific issue when questioned about the role of the graffiti prevention team played in this, and their seemingly ongoing role in arranging a replacement artwork.
So now we have a call for tender for artists to submit proposals to win the contract to paint the wall. The councils position on this is they are just facilitating a replacement artwork on behalf of the owner.
We don’t accept that it is as simple as that. Rob Shields, the councils anti-graffiti zealot, has played a very prominent role in this whole fiasco and now is extending a inteferring hand in the selection of ‘appropriate’ artwork to now go on the wall. This process is working outside of the area in which we’d normally expect to see the councils art advisory team taking care of. How is it that the very person who ‘erroneously’ oversaw the painting out of this mural is now in the chair that oversee’s what artwork replaces it?
Why is a replacement being sought when the easy fix is to give the wall back to Askew and his friends? The budget earmarked for this replacement mural is around 10K. That’s 10 thousand rate payer dollars that needn’t be spent - simply so one man can continue his agenda against ‘name based artwork’. And you only need check the details of the tender document to see that this is clearly the case.
“The building owner asks that the mural not be signed”
“The design should not incorporate elements that could be mistaken for vandalism”
In 10 years the owners nor tenants have never had a problem with the art on the wall being of a graffiti nature. And now they do? Bullshit.
We urge anyone who feels the same way we do to email Sheridan Dickson,Public Art Asset Manager at the Auckland Council outlining how you feel about the way this whole affair has gone down. He is administering the tender process on behalf of the council and is publicly listed as the point of contact.
At the end of the day we are letting the pet agenda of a bunch of out-of-touch unelected fanatics shape our environment in the face of over-whelming public opinion.
Future going forward?
Went along to finally have a look at the wall on Poynton Terrace and it really does look miserable. This is what the future holds for us as far as visual arts go? Grey walls waiting for bureauRATs to finish shuffling paper so that council appointed and approved “art” gets to go up around the same time flying cars and teleportation are the norm? Screw that crap…