Community outrage after $10,000 mural painted over
FROM its controversial inception to its mysterious demise, a Rockhampton CBD mural has set local tongues wagging once again.
Noone seems to know why the distinctive blue and white mural situated behind the Criterion Hotel, at the entrance of Quay Lane, was painted over.
In a city bursting with artistic talent, it was a controversial decision by Rockhampton Regional Council to spend $10,000 commissioning Melbourne-based artist Lucas Grogan to paint the mural in 2015.
Showcasing his trademark colour scheme, channelling the events of Cyclone Marcia into a circular whirl of vibrancy, Mr Grogan’s mural was intended to launch an artistic revitalisation Rockhampton’s laneways.
After hearing about the mural being painted over Rockhampton resident Kerry Lee contacted The Morning Bulletin and RRC, demanding an explanation.
“Why is it now painted over, when just four years ago we paid $10,000 for it?” Ms Lee said.
“Can someone from the council tell us why?”
A RRC spokesperson responded saying council had nothing to do with the mural being painted over.
Criterion Hotel General Manager Jay Hill said he was unsure why the mural was painted over while he was away on leave.
He said the hotel’s owner Leigh Turnbull, who was currently overseas and only contactable through email was the only person able to shed light on the mystery.
Mr Hill said he was sad to see the mural go and a number of patrons had already asked about its disappearance.
He speculated that a large vehicle could have scraped across the mural, forcing the paint job, as the Criterion’s down pipes occasionally suffered damage in the mural’s vicinity.
Questioned about potential waste of rate payers money and if there were any penalties for the painting over the art, Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said “the nature of public art is that it’s transient”.
“Street art gets painted over regularly, particularly in laneways,” Cr Strelow said.
“Melbourne‘s laneways are constantly changing. It is intended to be a temporary art form.”
The Quay St mural was Mr Grogan’s last in Australia before he moved to Europe to pursue his art career.
Mr Turnbull was emailed for comment.