VANDALS have seriously damaged Fremantle’s biggest mural.
The 150-metre mural was commissioned by former Hive Gallery owner Conrad Oma in 2013 after he became sick of constant tagging on his building, which is next to a bit of a no-man’s land and the railway in North Fremantle.
The ocean-themed work by local artists Jackson Harvey, Jerome Davenport and Luke O’Donohoe has recently been sprayed with black, chunky lettering, the culprits accessing the building from a neighbouring business selling grass trees.
This week Harvey said that given the previous tagging on the site he was somewhat surprised it had stayed intact this long.
But local resident and senior ABC News reporter David Weber is miffed, saying the mural was important in brightening up a bit of a wasteland.
“In the past the mural did get a little scrawl on it, but locals were able to fix it themselves,” Mr Weber says.
“But this is big black blocks along most of one side which makes it impossible to paint over.”
Mr Weber says he’s concerned that if the taggers are prepared to damage murals by other artists then more of Fremantle’s emerging street art could be at risk.
And although the mural was a commissioned work on private property, Mr Weber says it poses the question of what would happen if an artwork approved under Fremantle council’s street art policy were attacked; would it be repaired and who would wear the cost?
Freo mayor Brad Pettitt says he was pretty disappointed to see the vandalism from the train.
Dr Pettitt says council-owned buildings are usually given an anti-graffiti coat to protect murals and they’ve got a gun clean-up team. He says other building owners have been able to claim damage on their insurance.
He says taggers attacking legitimate street art is a concern, but says murals have helped keep the practise at bay, and minor damage was usually better than a blank wall.
by STEVE GRANT