ROA painted three walls in Townsville, North Queensland, Australia, early last month, but all of the usual street art media have completely missed it. Now that begs the obvious existential question in this Internet age of street art: If no blogs report it then were the walls actually painted?
It looks like this Belgian muralist has once again done his research on the local animals. ROA almost always paints animal species that are native to the country or city where the wall is located for greater engagement with the community. In this case he has chosen a goanna holding his own tail as a whip, a turtle sitting atop a crocodile, and a sugar glider chained to a faucet. Is the goanna a reference to legends of how it beat people by using its tail as a whip? Is the turtle and crocodile an aboriginal totemic symbol? Is the sugar glider a commentary on illegal pet trade?
The walls were commissioned by Townville’s city council as part of an initiative to guide the development of street art in the city. I’m glad to see small cities like this investing in street artists’ livelihood and hopefully it will soon trickle down even to artists all over the world that aren’t as famous or popular as Roa.
Check the jump for more pictures gathered from around the web.
As you walk up the stairs to the second floor of LBMA (@lbmaorg) to continue your tour of “Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape“, the first piece you will encounter is an untitled installation by Meggs (@houseofmeggs) of a familiar gun range target character bursting out the wall as if he had just shot a bullet through it. If you look closely at the wall in person, you can see where Meggs plastered the wall to create this effect. If you walk behind this wall, you will meet the gunman in full view, except now you will notice that he is in fact NOT holding a gun, but rather a spray can. This is a huge distinction that I did not catch the first time I visited.
We start off exactly where we left off last time, in Long Beach, CA. I will admit that most of the artists below are new to me, but that is why events like Pow! Wow! Long Beach are so valuable to expand your horizon of artists that you were unfamiliar with prior.
Street art purists bemoan the loss of ephemerality of sanctioned walls, that it no longer requires artists to employ stealth, speed, and creativity to complete a mural all while dodging law enforcement, and that it loses its impact of unexpectedly running into a powerful image in the street that wasn’t there the night before. I can agree with that. However, I think there’s still room for community participation in street art that invites casual observers to dive in headfirst to naturally grow the movement.