DARLINGTON: Darlington Public School children recently came to the rescue with what Professor Winsome Evans hopes will be an enduring artwork on her Abercrombie Street fence. The mural depicts Australian native animals and Aboriginal inspired artwork. The school community also enjoys being able to see the colourful creation from the school library.
Earlier this year, Professor Evans, who lives on Abercrombie Street opposite Darlington Public School, painted a Black Lives Matter message on her fence. To her dismay, her sign in solidarity with First Nations people was painted over.
She rang the City of Sydney call centre, to ask whether council had painted it out, and after waiting on hold was assured that the relevant department had no record of it. So despite only having the use of one hand following a stroke, she repainted her Black Lives Matter message and yet again it was removed, resulting in another call to the council. This happened six times.
Prof. Evans told the SSH that during the first of the six phone calls, a call staff member told her that as it was her fence she could paint it as she wished. It was only after the sixth time her fence message was painted over that she received an unsigned form letter addressed “Dear ratepayer” advising her “in accordance with the provision of the Graffiti Control Act 2008 an incident or incidents of graffiti was identified and removed from your property …”
Having rung the council to advise that she would be reinstating her Black Lives Matter message for the seventh time, she added a notice that she, as the owner of the property, had painted it after notifying both council and the police.
Again it was painted over. So she took inspiration from the children’s paintings that the school opposite had enlarged and attached to the external walls of its building along both Golden Grove and Abercrombie streets. She approached the school to see if some of the children would be interested in designing a mural on the fence which they could also see and enjoy. Happily, the offer was taken up with some out-of-hours’ assistance from a staff member painting the higher parts of the mural.