The paintings, which depict various faces of Big Issue vendors, were recently installed by a group of artists in consultation with staff from the organisation’s Sydney office. The artworks were intended to celebrate the magazine vendors and their work.
John Vukoviz was one of the three artists who worked on the murals. He said he was disappointed to hear that the artworks will be taken down. “It will be a shame to see the mural go. Redfern has so many wonderful murals depicting different content and concepts, but all with the common theme of representing the sense of community and collaboration that Redfern residents no doubt admire about their neighbourhood.
“In addition to that, the mural is also a really clear celebration of the work The Big Issue does. It’s disappointing to think that such a simple, positive representation of the vendors and their lifestyles has to be removed due to red tape,” said Mr Vukoviz.
The City of of Sydney’s Aerosol Art Policy states that a Development Application must be made before street art is installed. A DA was not submitted by The Big Issue at any stage of the process. The Council has been assured the murals will not remain permanently.
“The City recently asked The Big Issue if they would like to apply to keep the mural but The Big Issue confirmed that they wanted it removed,” said a spokesperson for the City of Sydney.
The owner of the building, Urban Growth NSW Development Corporation, was not informed before the murals were painted and the artwork went ahead without their approval. “The building is not owned by The Big Issue, but is generously provided to the organisation by Urban Growth NSW Development Corporation. Unfortunately, the approvals required to ensure the artwork could be installed on a permanent basis were not sought,” said a spokesperson for The Big Issue.
“The Big Issue will oversee the removal of the artwork,” the spokesperson said.
Many neighbouring residents are disappointed that the murals will be removed, claiming that they have added to the character of the community, and created awareness for The Big Issue.