Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu
Victoria Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu
Iconic Collingwood Mural Preserved And Protected Under Coalition Govt
Victor P Taffa
Collingwood’s iconic Keith Haring mural will be restored and protected under a plan announced today by Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu.
“The late Keith Haring was a pioneering street artist and an icon of his generation.” Premier Baillieu said.
“Keith Haring was committed to making his artworks available to as wide an audience as possible and was an active campaigner for human rights and social justice issues around the world.”
New York-based Keith Haring, who died in 1990, visited Australia in 1984 where he undertook art projects in Melbourne and Sydney. His mural at the then Collingwood Technical School on Johnston St., was his first outside of the USA and one of only 31 known murals across the world that have survived to this day.
“Keith Haring painted the mural as a gift to the people of Collingwood, but it became a gift to the people of Victoria and indeed Australia.” Premier Baillieu said.
“The mural was entered into the State Heritage Register in 2004 but no work has been undertaken to protect it despite years of exposure to the elements have taken their toll.”
“The Coalition Government will act now to prevent further deterioration and restore this landmark piece of public art so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.”
The preservation and protection works will be based on a plan by Melbourne conservation and architecture firm RBA Consultants.
The plan recommends urgent preliminary works such as the removal of overhead electrical wiring and parking bollards surrounding the site and the appointment of specialist conservators to undertake cleaning works, specialist retouching and the application of a protective coating to defend against UV damage.
Premier Baillieu said that the option of painting over the mural, as had been done to Haring murals internationally, would potentially destroy it.
The RBA Consultants report found that a fresh coat of paint would bond to the unstable existing layer and there was a danger that over time this will lead to peeling, which will take the original layer away completely and irreparably.
Research and technology regarding the treatment of acrylic paint is developing at a rapid rate and should appropriate materials become available in future, repainting will be considered.
Premier Baillieu said the process set out in the Conservation Management Plan was thorough and will allow for testing to ensure that the treatment suits the unique condition of the mural and the harsh Australian environment.
“We are confident that this plan will bring back the vibrancy of the mural and will maintain Keith Haring’s important legacy while keeping in line with the legal requirements of the mural as a part of the Victorian Heritage Register.”
Arts Victoria will now apply to Heritage Victoria for a permit to undertake the works on the mural site. As part of the permit process, Heritage Victoria will call for community feedback on the proposal.