What is it with some local councils and the arts…? In 2010 Hackney Council decided they should obliterate Belgian street artist Roa’s painting of a rabbit, until a petition made them reconsider. Last week Croydon Council created a list of 10 of the borough’s greatest residents – but forgot to include David Lean on it. Now Tower Hamlets have covered Roa’s iconic crane on the corner of Hanbury Street and Brick Lane with a massive vinyl banner. The banner carries the incredibly useful information that this is Brick Lane, Curry Capital 2012. That’d be for anyone who couldn’t read the street signs (much more attractive, in English and Bengali) at eye level, or tell from the restaurants themselves (or the touts outside them, for which Brick Lane is also famous) that yes, you certainly can order a curry here. Duh.
Tower Hamlets have now reportedly removed the banner (early Tuesday morning), though they had originally stated it wouldn’t be removed until after the Olympics and Paralympics (nothing to do with the petition and negative feedback, of course). A spokesperson said that ‘Tower Hamlets is preparing to welcome the world and the banner reflects the borough’s pride.’ Hmm. Clearly Tower Hamlets think that a cheap-looking banner will attract more visitors to the area than a painting by an internationally renowned artist.
There’s a petition against the banner being given planning permission here http://www.change.org/petitions/tower-hamlets-council-save-the-crane. The consultation period for whether it should be given planning permission ends next week.