A “stupenduous act of cultural vandalism”

And in the first UK City of Culture too…  The Derry Journal reports the reaction of Australian artist, Joan Walsh-Smith, on learning that her 30 metre long public artwork, City People, commissioned in 1973 by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for the Foyle Street Urban Park in Londonderry, was bulldozed in the mid-1990s to make way for a carpark.  From the Derry Journal report

Mrs. Walsh-Smith recently queried the whereabouts of the Arts Council commissioned project after trying to locate it on Google street maps.

She says that, when she realised that Foyle Street had been redeveloped, she assumed her artwork had been relocated elsewhere or removed and preserved.

Derry City Council has confirmed that Mrs. Walsh-Smith’s 30 metre long public artwork – unveiled in the 1970s – was “decommissioned”.

Mrs. Walsh-Smith told the ‘Journal’ she was “shocked and appalled” to learn of the demolition, branding it a “stupenduous act of cultural vandalism.”

A spokesperson for Derry City Council said: “It is unfortunate that this piece of work was decommissioned and demolished and we fully acknowledge that, during its time, it served the public life of the city.“

Not only did Derry City Council not make any effort to preserve the public artwork, but it doesn’t seem like the Arts Council did either…  [Are you listening, Wolfgang! – Ed]  Indeed.

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