London tabloids have widely ridiculed the “blundering Australian bureaucrats” behind the accidental removal of a Melbourne mural by British artist Banksy.
UK newspapers The Telegraph, the The Times and the Daily Mail all ran prominent stories on the disappearance of the priceless graffiti, which was painted over by street cleaners earlier this week.
The Daily Mail blasted Melbourne bureaucrats for their “cock-up”.
“The street art used to show an image of a purple rat falling in a parachute and was displayed on the wall of an old council building on Hosier Lane,” it said.
“But two days ago the wall was ‘improved’ by a thick layer of ‘battleship grey’ paint by an anti-grafitti squad ‘cleaning’ up the city streets.”
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle today tried to soften the anger surrounding the incident by saying he would be happy to consider commissioning Banksy art in the future.
The backlash has continued back in Australia with one prominent local stencil artist calling the bungle a big shock.
“While street art is all about being ephemeral - being there one day and gone the next - at the end of the day it’s Banksy’s work so it’s a huge loss to the city,” said New Zealand-born artist Regan ‘Ha-Ha’ Tamanui.
Tamanui, whose Sydney laneway tribute to AFL bad boy Ben Cousins featured on ninemsn in late 2007, said Hosier Lane was the “street art Mecca of Melbourne” and should be the last place councils would be cleaning.
The removal was also mocked on US pop culture bible Death+Taxes.
“Though the District Council have admitted to their stupidity, they have passed the buck to the anti-graffiti team; saying that the ‘cleaners’ did not know the significance of the work, and promptly removed it because of the surrounding tags.” it wrote.
“However, did they ask locals what they thought about their blanket white-washing plans?”