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​Graffiti walls become an outdoor art gallery

Publication date: Friday, 1 March 2018

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One of NSW’s largest street art projects is underway, with 34 local and international artists painting large-scale murals on 23 walls in Caringbah over three days.

Attorney General and Member for Cronulla Mark Speakman today joined Sutherland Shire Mayor Carmelo Pesce in officially launching the ‘Walk the Walls” festival, aimed at reducing graffiti and restoring community pride.

“It is wonderful to see ugly tags with no artistic merit being replaced by colourful, skillful and thought-provoking murals that will breathe new life into Caringbah’s CBD,” Mr Speakman said.

“I encourage local residents and tourists to take advantage of a unique opportunity to walk through the heart of Caringbah and witness the creation of a large-scale outdoor art gallery.”

The NSW Government has invested $50,000 in the project that includes decorating 1500 square metres of wall space across Caringbah, including near Caringbah train station and walls on the western side of the shopping centre.

Indigenous artists Zachary Bennett-Brook and Yowa are among the many artists commissioned for the project, along with Mexican born artist Peque who has, since taking residence in Sydney, become a mentor for young mural painters. 

The murals will be created using a range of materials including paints and glass.  Some surfaces will also receive anti-graffiti treatments.

Mayor Pesce said the NSW Government had been a strong supporter of the Council’s initiatives to combat graffiti, with previous projects delivering positive results. Graffiti incidents across the entire Sutherland Local Government Area are at a five-year low, falling almost 30 per cent from 360 in 2012-13 to 256 in 2016-17.

“In the past, where Council has engaged street artists for smaller projects, we’ve seen the crime and graffiti rate reduce almost 85 per cent in those particular areas,” he said.

“This project aims to have an even bigger impact; decreasing graffiti in the area, revitalising neglected spaces and developing more positive relationships with our young people.”