Vandalism of art ‘disheartening’

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Low blow...West Gore resi dent Rosemary Cowan is disappointed vandals have defaced the design artist Christine O’Connor has been painting on a Chorus box on the corner of Coutts Rd and Frank St. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

Whether we can have it all here in Gore depends on the vandals, it would appear.

We have it all hare in Gore is the title of artwork Christine O’Connor, of Riversdale, has started painting on a Chorus telecommunications cabinet on the corner of Frank St and Coutts Rd.

However, the uncompleted work has been attacked twice by spray can-wielding vandals.

O’Connor said the artwork featured hares who were taking part in four topics associated with Gore: trout fishing, Hokonui Moonshine whisky, country music and shopping.

“It’s a bit of fun and lighthearted humour to brighten people’s day,” she said.

She submitted the design to Chorus, which approved the plan, and about three weeks ago she started sanding, undercoating and topcoating the cabinet.

It took her about two afternoons to complete the preparations and then she started the design.

She planned to return to finish the work but was told by a friend several days later vandals had spray-painted a message on the box -“paint me green”.

The next painting day she repaired the damage and did some more of the design.

While she was working on the artwork she had received positive feedback, she said.

“People walking past thought it was great, little children thought it was cool, someone from the council stopped and they seemed pretty happy but unfortunately someone is not so happy.”

She left a note on the box explaining who to contact if people wished to make a complaint.

However, the note was screwed up and left on the ground, and the artwork was attacked again.

“It’s quite disheartening.”

She was reluctant to give up on the project, which had been put temporarily on hold while she recovered from knee surgery.

“I feel like it’s giving into bullies, just letting them have it their way.”

Coutts Rd resident Rosemary Cowan said she was “disgusted” with the vandalism.

“Somebody tries to make things look nice around the town and it gets vandalised.

“How low can somebody go?”

The artist had done a beautiful job, she said.

“It looks better than just being green.”

Chorus community relations manager Jo Seddon said the company was extremely disappointed about the vandalism.

“We get that art is subjective, but instead of defacing someone’s creation, that person or persons could have spoken to us directly about it,” Mrs Seddon said.

Chorus’ contact details were left on the cabinet after the first round of vandalism.

“We were hoping that this would be enough to encourage whoever was attacking the mural to have the decency to speak to me rather than continuing to ruin something that has already brought enjoyment to the community.”

The initiative to paint the cabinets had been running throughout the country for 10 years and provided work and recognition for local artists.

“Our murals are there to not only combat mindless tagging but also to beautify what are otherwise drab, functional cabinets.”