3 December 2018

Southfest community project destroyed days after it was built

| Lachlan Roberts
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Before and after: The community display assembled for SouthFest. Photos: Supplied by Bec Selleck.

A community project created to celebrate life in Tuggeranong has been destroyed just days after it was built, much to the dismay of the community and the artists who designed it.

Tuggeranong Arts Centre commissioned Bec Selleck and a fellow artist to make a public artwork with the community for SouthFest, a community festival celebrating life in the Tuggeranong valley. Only days after the festival, the display was ruined and dismembered after someone stole the native plants from the display.

“Tuggeranong Arts Centre commisioned me and another artist to make public artwork with the community that could grow with us and help foster an appreciation for the incredible ecosystems that existed here before the concrete, brick and introduced species,” she said.

“It was pretty disappointing considering it was artwork built with the community and something that the community seemed excited about and to watch grow, and that it was taken quite selfishly by somebody.”

The community artwork was blossoming with flora and fauna.

Ms Selleck said she had received overwhelming support and positive feedback from the local community.

During the festival, I had such overwhelming waves of positivity and excitement for the work and many people told me they wanted it to stay there forever,” she said. “Everybody was so happy to take part and learn about the flowers that we have lost due to the process of urbanisation.”

Ms Selleck said it was decided it wasn’t worthwhile to repair the work and decided to take down what remained of the display. As she was taking down the display on Monday morning (26 November), passersby shared their disappointment regarding the vandalism.

“While I was taking down the display, I had the opportunity to talk to many people walking past,” she said. “There was a lot of disappointment and one lady said to ‘that’s why we can’t have nice things’. Not because it isn’t a wonderful community but because there seem to be a few people who want to spoil things.”

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