Mural’s demise was sad but inevitable, artist says

Love is in the Air has been removed nine years after it was painted on the side of Dunedin’s...
Love is in the Air has been removed nine years after it was painted on the side of Dunedin’s Mansfield Apartments by Polish artist Natalia Rak. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
The European artist behind a vanished central Dunedin mural says she was saddened to learn of its removal.

Natalia Rak’s work Love is in the Air recently disappeared from the side of the Mansfield Apartments building — although another artwork may decorate the wall in future.

The Polish artist said she had not received any information about the removal of the mural she travelled to the city to paint in 2015, and the news left her feeling a bit sad.

"Despite this, I hold on to the wonderful memories from Dunedin and the warm reception my mural received.

"It's a part of the natural cycle of life and art".

Murals in public spaces had a limited lifespan, and paint faded over time, she said.

The brightly coloured mural was missed by a nearby worker who spoke to the Otago Daily Times on Monday, although residents of the building could not be reached.

Dunedin Street Art Trust chairman Scott Muir said on Monday he did not know why the mural was removed.

However, the trust provided an update yesterday, stating the building owners had made them aware of the need to undertake repairs to the wall and that the mural would need to be removed.

Early planning was under way for another mural to fill the space.

"They indicated they would be keen to host another mural and the DSA will work with them to do this now the wall has been completed.

"We’re working together now to come up with options for a new mural on that wall."

The mural caused debate in 2015 before gaining consent.

In submissions to the Dunedin City Council, one apartment owner raised concerns about how it would affect property value.

Another had said murals should be limited to areas where they had no effect on residential dwellings.

A city council spokesman said yesterday murals such as Love is in the Air were only ever intended to be temporary.

"Ownership of them sits with building owners and they can remove them whenever they wish," the spokesman said.