Culture

Artists ‘heartbroken’ after stunning street art washed away in ‘devastating error’

16 Oct 2021 4 minutes Read
Some of the stunning PWSH project artwork that has now been washed away (Credit: PWSH)

David Owens

The creatives behind a stunning art project that has brightened up the streets of Cardiff say they are devastated after discovering that artwork had been removed without their knowledge.

The pilot street art project titled ‘PWSH’ has transformed the look of the city centre in recent months thanks to some brilliantly colourful artwork.

Cardiff Indoor Market, Mill Lane, Metros nightclub and St David’s Centre are some of the locations to have experienced eye-catching makeovers.

However, on Thursday morning a collection of beautiful street artworks by artists Beth Blandford, Amber Forde and Temeka Davies, adorning pillars at the back of the back of the former Debenhams store on St David’s Walk were washed away in what has been described as a “devastating error”.

Temeka Davies aka Noble Sol with her murals which celebrate afro hair (Credit: Raquel Garcia / PWSH)

Commissioned by FOR Cardiff and realised by a group of creatives, the PWSH project aims to produce joyful, playful, and colourful pockets of artwork to ultimately form a mural trail in the city centre.

However, writing on their blog, a spokesperson for the project detailed their heartache after discovering many of the ornate street art murals had been washed away.

The blog post written yesterday reads: “Friends. We are absolutely devastated that our artwork at the back of the old Debenhams was removed yesterday morning (Thursday 14 October). Apparently, there has been some sort of city centre cleansing team ‘miscommunication’. That area is now a complete mess again (with our artwork literally washed off and now all over the floor) – and we are heartbroken.

“So much love goes out to Beth, Amber and Temeka whose artwork has been destroyed and erased. They are gutted. We are gutted. We are gutted for the people of Cardiff who have shown so much love for this project. We are gutted for our city which has so much potential to fill itself to the brim with all of the creativity its inhabitants have to offer.

Murals on pillars outside the former Debenhams (Credit: Raquel Garcia, PWSH)

“People have shared with us that they would have liked to have seen ALL of the columns transformed with our artwork in this otherwise very unloved corner of our city centre – people did not want the artists’ beautiful artwork removed from them. That is 11 columns of artwork wiped from the creative landscape of our city centre.

“We were already on the case putting together plans to continue this project with more funding, more artists and more sites. First and foremost, we’ll now be on a mission to find safe sites and find more funding for Beth, Amber and Temeka to create new and permanent artwork, in a new home/s.”

Gutted

The situation surrounding the removal of the artworks was clarified in a statement by FOR Cardiff, who said the washing of the artwork “was an honest mistake but unfortunately, not a mistake that can be rectified.”

“We were made aware that due to a devastating error involving our cleansing contractor, the beautiful artworks on the pillars in the area around the former Debenhams had been removed,” said FOR Cardiff’s associate director Carolyn Brownell

“We offer our sincere and heartfelt apology to the talented artists, Beth Blandford, Amber Forde and Temeka Davies who took the opportunity to brighten up Cardiff and contribute to its vibrant and exciting culture through their artworks and we’re simply gutted for them. It was an honest mistake but unfortunately, not a mistake that can be rectified.

PWSH PROJECT MURALS FROM AROUND THE CITY CENTRE

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“Investment in these emerging artists was provided via the FOR Cardiff businesses and as such we’re as saddened as the artists and public that they’re no longer there for everyone to enjoy.

“We’re working with the creative director of the project as to how we can best rectify this situation as quickly as possible.

“We remain committed to continuing bringing new art to the city centre and are looking at other locations in the city centre such as Baker’s Row to provide the opportunity for artists to continue to brighten up Cardiff.”

Find out more about PWSH HERE

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Philistines don’t make mistakes just ask the trees of Sheffield…Honest !

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago

What a terrible shame, really feel for the artists here. I would rather that Nation leaves out the editorializing when reporting News – ‘stunning’? That may very well be the writer’s opinion, and this is in the ‘culture’ section and not the ‘news’ section, but the article appears to be more news-y in style and tone. There are amazing artists in Wales, many of whom deserve to be shouted out and boosted. Stunning’? Not in my very subjective opinion – but I’d never dream of saying this ‘very pedestrian, dull, lifeless, Buzzfeed background art, Google daily banner artwork’ in an… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

You are right about there being amazing artists in Wales.

If you are ever in Barmouth seek out the work of Bernard Barnes in the Church Hall Gallery, amazing hardly covers it.

What an absolute crime to erase such a riot of colour and joy…

Patrick Brompton
Patrick Brompton
1 month ago

It is not as if there is any shortage of squalid graffiti-tagged street furniture elsewhere in Cardiff – very easily distinguishable from the vibrant artwork which has been vandalised. Perhaps, apart from restoring the work they have destroyed, the contractor responsible could make amends by undertaking cleaning work in some of the city’s more blighted neighbourhoods.

David Thomas
David Thomas
1 month ago

From what I can see it’s not that good or that stunning, very amateurish drawings with an afro/Caribbean theme. Not original or enjoyable to look at. Plenty of this stuff around these days.

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