melbourne: keith haring mural rescue

© abc / photography: richelle hunt - keith haring's mural in melbourne

while visiting australia in 1984, american artist keith haring painted an outdoor mural at the collingwood technical college in inner city melbourne. this mural is the only remaining publicly-sited work made during haring’s three-week visit. more than 25 years later, the mural is now a shadow of its former self with a bleached pallor that has overcome haring’s signature sensibility of life and vitality. despite being in the care of the victorian government and registered as a site of state significance with the heritage council of victoria, the mural has received no regular maintenance or care since conception. recently, positive steps have been undertaken to develop the old collingwood technical college into a home for circus oz and other organisations.

as part of the proposed development, the victorian government, along with arts victoria, has commissioned a conservation management plan that proposes spending aud 1,000,000 of taxpayers money on stabilising the haring mural in its current neglected state. this plan directly contravenes the wishes of the keith haring foundation, which was established by the artist before his death. the foundation have publicly stated that they wish to see the mural returned to the people of collingwood through its re-painting. they do not believe haring would have agreed nor wanted to see an excess of money spent on preserving the mural in its current state [source].

© abc / photography: simon leo browne - the mural up close