Hackney Council and Network Rail face backlash over ‘competition’ to paint graffiti mural on a tunnel – as critics claim they use artists’ skills for free
London’s Hackney Council and Network Rail are facing a backlash from angry locals over plans to cover up graffiti on a tunnel at Hackney Wick following a £25m refurbishment of the above-ground station and surrounding area.
The partnership, which also includes the London Legacy Development Corporation, has revealed it has launched a competition for the chance to design and paint a mural at Hackney Wick.
The brief stated that although the cost of materials would be covered, no payment would be made for the work.
Hackney Council’s website said: “The mural design, aimed at local community groups in Hackney Wick, must be representative of the community and help make the space feel safe and joyful for occupants and pedestrians.”
“Advertising says ‘No money but we will buy anti-graffiti paint for individuals or community groups to decorate the wall,’” one person wrote when sharing the post on Facebook. “The design should be representative of the community.”
Hackney Council has angered local residents by offering a contest to win the chance to graffiti in the refurbished Hackney Wick station tunnel.
Personally, I am offended that they expect people to work for free, and secondly, I and many others in this community appreciate the view of graffiti.
This decoration with anti-graffiti paint is silly. Grafitti is one of the main contributors to Wick being rated as the coolest place to visit/live.
Many took to the comments to respond to the post, criticizing the board for expecting others to do the work for free.
One person replied, ‘I’ve spoken with them and the reasons behind this is that several community groups have reached out to ask permission to paint the wall and offer free work.
To make it fair to the groups of society, and not to be partial (sic) in choosing one, they organized it as a competition.
Angry locals were furious to discover that whoever gave their time and talent to paint the tunnel would not be paid for their services.
It’s poorly explained/presented, though not in an attempt to rip off the artists. It pissed me off though after talking to them it actually made sense.
However, one local resident added, “They can still pay for a community project to do it.”
“There is graffiti and then there is vandalism,” a third person wrote.
“And then there’s business theft,” a fourth citizen put it.