Wednesday 18 September 2019

Dublin City Council orders removal of Subset's David Attenborough mural


SUBSET's mural of David Attenborough in Portobello.
Photo: SUBSET
SUBSET's mural of David Attenborough in Portobello. Photo: SUBSET

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

DUBLIN City Council has ordered the removal of another Dublin street artwork, as a beloved mural of David Attenborough looks set to be painted over.

The mural, which was painted by the artist collective SUBSET earlier this year on the side of a property in Portobello, was unveiled on the BBC documentary maker's 93rd birthday.

Despite it being painted on a private wall with the permission of the property owner, the City Council has ordered for it to be removed because no planning permission was obtained for the "unauthorised development".

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council confirmed that an enforcement notice has been issued by the local authority "for the permanent removal of the unauthorised painted mural from the gable wall."

The notice will also prohibit "further painted murals or art to be located on the gable wall of 83 South Circular Road facing onto Longwood Avenue."

Claire Byrne, a Green Party Councillor for Dublin South East Inner City area said that, while the mural received mixed reviews locally, it has helped with a recent spate of graffiti and tagging in the area.

"I think it's disappointing," she said.

"I live in the local neighbourhood and there has been a mixed reaction to it but I think it's great and I'm quite a fan of it actually. It's like all art it's subjective. Some people love it and some people don't.

"My partner doesn't love it but I think it's great. Like all art not everybody is going to enjoy it but I think everyone agrees that it has helped the tagging problem.

"There's a huge tagging and graffiti issue in Portobello at the moment and there was a huge problem with that particular wall and since it has been painted, that's all gone on that street now, which is a really positive aspect of the mural itself."

Ms Byrne is part of a subgroup of the Arts strategic policy committee, which for the past year has been focusing on the management of street art in Dublin. The Council's decision comes after they already ordered the removal of SUBSET's Stormzy mural.

A decision on whether their Horseboy mural in Smithfield should be removed is also currently being made by An Bord Pleanála.

Ms Byrne continued that the removal of the widely adored artwork highlights the need to address legislation in the area.

"It's highlighting a hugely important issue. My understanding is that is was done with the consent of the property owners- it's a private wall not a public wall and I think it would be a shame to take it down.

"This highlights that we need to look at the processes and the planning around street art in general in the city and this is something I've been looking at for this past year. We set up a sub committee on street art and we had a street art forum last October and there have been a working group in that as well, of which Subset are a member."

A spokesperson for SUBSET told the Independent.ie that the Attenborough mural took five days and thousands of Euro to produce. When asked what they thought of the council's decision to remove it they said it's "nothing new," but that they would like to take their opportunity to comment to "shout out Inner City Helping Homeless and Friends Of The Irish Environment." "Check them, they need support," they said.

A petition has been set up to save some of Subset's work, you can find out more information using the following link:

https://www.change.org/p/dublin-city-council-save-smithfield-s-houseboy-mural

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