Councillors concerned for future of street art

Dublin City Council is working to reactivate a subcommittee dealing with street art after a Subset mural was ordered to be removed.

The mural in Portobello depicts David Attenborough and was unveiled on the 93rd birthday of the climate activist. 

Green Party councillor Claire Byrne said: “I know that there was certainly mixed views on it when it first went up, but I know myself from talking to the local community that they would quite like to see it remain.”

Subset said: “Dublin City Council are using legislation which is not fit for purpose in a modern city. Their blinkered perspective demonstrates a lack of understanding of the real cultural values that the city wants represented and presented to the world.

The SUBSET David Attenborough mural located in Portabello. Photo by Orla Whelan.

 “This lack of foresight is just a hurdle in the realisation of the artistic communities vision for the future of our city. Look at the Tivoli Theatre, culture and artistry built up over decades just bulldozed in weeks.”

The mural was created with permission from the property owner. “There is an opportunity for either the owner of the building to apply for a retention but I don’t know if they have done that or if they intend to do that,” Byrne said. 

“There is a grey area when it comes to street art in the city,” she said.

A subcommittee dealing with street art was set up through the Arts Strategic Policy Committee last year which is currently trying to be reactivated under the new council. 

“I’d like to see the mural stay. It’s very symbolic of the wider problem we have in the city at the moment in terms of the planning restrictions that are prohibiting street art and painting murals around the city,” Byrne said.

“But we do need clarity around what’s permitted and what isn’t, and that’s something that we’re working on.

“On a personal level I think that particular mural highlights a really important issue, in the middle of a climate crisis. In that sense I think it would be a real shame to see it go.”

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