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.


Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.