Graffiti and street art have long been an engaging medium for voices of social change, protest, or expressions of community desire, proving it can be a positive force in our community.
A good example of this is the response we have seen on the streets of Melbourne recently when more than 200 five-tonne concrete anti-terrorism bollards were placed throughout the City. The $10 million safety upgrade by local government is an initiative to help prevent terrorism and vehicle based attacks recently seen in Europe, London and Melbourne’s Bourke St.
As one of the world’s most liveable cities, the cement bollards are an unsightly addition to our urban landscape and are also a stark reminder of our vulnerability, so it has been refreshing to see the way the power of street art has been our best response to this new temporary edition.
Local artist David Gray was the first to take matters into his own hands by ‘pimping’ these blocks with some hand sewn covers he made on his mother’s sewing machine in an attempt to beautify and humanise them.
This simple yet heartfelt act has kicked-off what has now been named “boll-art” on social media with other artists painting or covering them in their own style. Melbournian’s are embracing the boll-art with most people encouraging artists to ‘pimp’ them all to take the sting out of the serious reason for their presence and adding to our city in a artistically positive way.
The great news is this expression of ‘boll-art’ has also been enthusiastically supported by our local authorities with Premier Daniel Andrews giving them the thumbs up and the City of Melbourne tweeting “We’re not removing art from the bollards”. Lord Mayor Robert Doyle tweeted “it is an example of when good things happen” and said “he will work with authorities to ensure the art can continue without persecution.”
It looks very much like an unequivocal ‘green light’ to Melbourne’s best graffiti artists to get behind the boll-art movement and champion this wonderful creative metropolis we live in.