Valuable urban art at Perth City Farm is in danger of being lost says a local art group whose protests have—temporarily at least—halted the destruction of an 18-year-old mural.
City Farm had planned to allow a visiting European artist to paint over the work, as it was looking tired. Lady Bananas from Artists Anonymous Collective says that would be completely misreading the value of urban art.
“The farm is where graffiti art first found a heart and home in Perth, over 20 years ago,” she tells the Voice. “The artwork currently on the walls of City Farm needs to be recognised for its historical, cultural and artistic value and the importance this value has to the wider community.”
City Farm has been a spiritual home for Perth graffiti since 1995, when then-management invited artists who’d been illegally tagging the site to re-paint its barns and buildings.
Many, including DASH and KID ZOOM, are now internationally renowned and have exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria and other high-falutin’ places.
Lady Bananas is pleased City Farm—wracked in recent weeks by its own management turmoil—has halted the paint-over but wants assurances of a more lasting solution.
Cliff Morris, CEO of Men of the Trees, the organisation in charge of City Farm, says he recognises the significance of urban art and will ensure any future attempts to modify it come before the MOTT committee first.
Lady Bananas notes a 2011 farm mural, Ironlak in Wonderland, has sentimental as well as artistic value.
“Jarrad Hawkins (AXUP), who worked on that piece with the 3DB crew, sadly died in March,” she says.
“It was the first, legal large-scale mural where the crew had the chance to really showcase to the rest of Australia what they did best.
“This mural concept pushed their personal artistic skills and boundaries, and it was completed with a great sense of achievement.”
She notes a request from 3DB for it to repaint the mural if the farm ever decided it required refreshing, was rejected.
She is lobbying Perth city council to protect all historic graffiti across the city.