ACT News

ACT street art trashed by vandals

Vandals have defaced street art and graffiti at legal drawing sites across the ACT in the past few weeks, including Canberra Centenary artwork and a memorial for a deceased Melbourne graffiti writer.

Walls in at least four of Canberra's legal sites have been defaced with tiny faces, bananas and sometimes covered completely by white paint.

Vandalised street art in the storm drains at the Australian National University.
Vandalised street art in the storm drains at the Australian National University. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Among the artworks defaced was a memorial for Melbourne artist Kurt Dalen, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in December - one vandal changed the message of "rest In peace' to "rest In hell'.

A graffiti artist, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the vandalism began just after New Year's eve and had completely ruined several pieces. 

"We're using super cheap paint today because I don't want to go and spend a bunch of money then have it destroyed," one of the artists said.

"It's annoying ... apparently the guys who have been painting here overnight sometimes come back [in the morning] and see some shit has gone on it, white paint and stuff."

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Canberra street artist Houl said he had first noticed the vandalism when he went to find a free space on the wall at one of the legal sites. 

"I went to go and paint and the spot that I went to somebody had been there quite recently it looked like and they had painted over a whole bunch of artworks, like some fresh pieces [including] some of my pieces," he said.

"They had used paint and kind of half painted over pieces leaving them completely white or buff."

He said whoever defaced the various works did not understand the capital's artistic community.

The ACT government first designated legal graffiti walls in 2004 and since then it has designated 26 painting areas, which have been shared between the graffiti writers and the street artists.