A controversial plan that threatened the future of one of the city’s best loved works of public art has been shelved after locals reacted with fury… (By Gill Boelman-Burrows)
In 2010 Italian artist Blu was invited by the V9 group to paint a wall in Warsaw. Famous for his epic scale works in urban and industrial landscapes he gifted Warsaw a mural that, true to his style, confronted political events and other socialistic controversies in today’s modern age. Covering an area of 1,200 sq/m, the project, on the side of ul. Sienna 45, was realized in under 48 hours and portrayed a group of soldiers controlled like marionettes by unseen forces.
But behind closed doors and with little effort to investigate public opinion, a select few from The Dept. of Public Space Aesthetics, The Theatre Institute and Good Looking Studio recently committed to a scheme to replace the acclaimed artwork with a promotional campaign celebrating 250 years of Polish theatre. However, they did not anticipate the power of social media and public persuasion! A day after the scaffolding went up so did the posts on Facebook: within 24 hours a petition was in place to save the mural.
Early comments from the hapless trio managed to get them into deeper water than before, and in order to cover their own backs they began apportioning blame on each other. It’s unclear which party made the first move to cancel the project but it was the Theatre Institute whose statement confirmed the plan had been postponed until a more suitable wall was found; a job they have put to the general public and Dept. of Public Space in Warsaw. Blu has made no public comment on these developments. But if we take notice of his recent actions in Berlin, whereby after much contention, the artist himself painted over his murals with black paint, then maybe Warsaw should keep an eye on this wall! (For more on Warsaw’s street art check: facebook.com/wawa.blabla)