Artist Natalia Rak not told her Dunedin mural would be painted over

Now and then: Natalia Rak's mural has been painted over.

Now and then: Natalia Rak’s mural has been painted over.
Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton / Natalia Rak

The artist behind a well-loved Dunedin mural says she has no idea why it has suddenly vanished.

Polish artist Natalia Rak painted ‘Love is in the Air’ on the side of a Bond Street building in 2015, depicting two people sitting on a bench.

It was recently replaced by a blank blue wall.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t received any information about the decision to cover my mural. This news has left me feeling a bit sad,” Rak said.

“I understand that murals in public spaces have a limited lifespan, and the paint fades over time. It’s a part of the natural cycle of life and art.

“Despite this, I hold onto the wonderful memories from Dunedin and the warm reception my mural received.”

In a statement on social media, Dunedin Street Art Charitable Trust said the building’s owners made them aware the mural would need to be removed as part of repairs to the wall.

“They indicated they would be keen to host another mural and the [trust] will work with them to do this now the wall has been completed,” it said. “We’re working together now to come up with options for a new mural on that wall.”

Rak said she enjoyed her time in the city and would be interested in returning.

“If the opportunity arises, I will be more than happy to paint another new mural in Dunedin.”

The work was part of a wider network of street art throughout the city centre, which the Trust had turned into a street art trail.

Dunedin City Council said the mural was not one of its projects.

“It’s important to note murals like ‘Love is in the Air’ are only ever intended to be temporary artworks,” a spokesperson said. “Ownership of them sits with building owners and they can remove them whenever they wish.”

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