Three Banksy Stencil Artworks Destroyed in Melbourne
In 2003 legendary street artist Banksy visited the Australian city of Melbourne and left behind nine of his signature stencil works as a gift to the country’s capital.
Since then, these artworks have been steadily disappearing, with a further three of the remaining pieces destroyed this month according to a local historian. Three trademark Banksy rat stencil pieces spray painted on the city’s famous ACDC Lane have now been replaced by a new doorway.
Locals and urban art lovers have expressed their disappointment in the council’s lack of protection for such valuable treasures. Many believe there should be more proactive preservation of local art history, including street art, as it is a recognisable part of the area’s heritage. It is not just Banksy’s work that has been wiped out, after all. Many contemporary artists from Melbourne have made their mark on the city, working alongside Banksy during his visit to help establish Melbourne as a credible world street art location.
According to Fairfax Media, a City of Melbourne spokesperson told them that they do try to “preserve legal street art murals where possible,” but “the very nature of street art is that it is temporary, ephemeral and forever changing.”
Indeed, preserving original graffiti and street art in situ, often by installing a Perspex guard over the artwork, is a controversial practice worldwide. Many street art fans do, in fact, share the views of council – that urban art is meant to be interactive and temporary, something that preservation completely goes against.
Others, meanwhile, firmly side with Melbourne historian Meyer Eidelson, whose opinion – as expressed via their blog – is that “These Australian and Banksy stencil images were history in the making – perhaps as seminal to the modern street art movement in Australia as the Aboriginal paintings destroyed on the Papunya school wall in 1973. The art establishment was slow to understand contemporary Indigenous art and now is failing to understand why we need to protect significant street art works for future generations.”
When it comes to preserving street art, whose side are you on? Share your views by leaving us a comment below or posting on the Theodorus Gallery Facebook page.