Public art tackles graffiti

19 June 2013

AlburyCity's latest public art project honours local flora and fauna while tackling problem graffiti.

Baranduda based artists Letizia Gavioli and Michael Laubli have used a grant from AlburyCity to install five steel panels depicting native plant and animal life around the Hume Freeway pedestrian bridges.

The panels are the latest addition to Council's growing public art collection and are the next step in addressing problem graffiti, says AlburyCity's Public Art Officer Tom Arnold.

"We invited artists to express their interest in creating a public artwork that captures our local identity while deterring vandals. We wanted the artwork to be durable, sustainable and graffiti resistant."

"Michael and Letizia have developed a really beautiful piece of work that captures our iconic flora and fauna while being a nice contrast to the built up environment around the freeway."

"These areas are targeted by vandals who frequently tag the walkways and freeway barriers. Public art is an effective deterrent and these are going to be a great way to make these gateways to our city more welcoming."

The project uses graffiti-resistant 6mm Cor-Ten steel to produce five panels dedicated to different themes: Flora, Aquatic, Flying, Land and Trees. Various images including a koala, snow gum tree, Murray Cod, eagle and a wombat have been laser cut into the steel.

"We thought about all the beautiful local flora and fauna and decided to create a series of panels depicting it," artist Michael Laubli says. "We wanted to create something that had a strong cultural and local relevance that generated a sense of place."

"The animals and the plants are cut into the steel to remind people that these things exist beyond our concrete surroundings."

"The Cor-Ten material also makes it resistant to graffiti and durable in outdoor conditions which is ideal for the project."

Larsen Engineering was contracted to complete the cutting and installation of the artwork.

Graffiti removal cost AlburyCity $89,000 in the 2011-12 financial year.