Arts Victoria along with Heritage Victoria are in the process of restoring the Collingwood Keith Haring mural to its former glory. This important mural is an iconic example of one of the worlds most influential street artists. It is one of only 31 known murals by Haring that is still in existence worldwide.
The restoration includes, stabilisation works, such as investigating and protecting the wall from rising damp, render repairs and reinstating the lost render and consolidation of paint. The application of a protective coat to defend against further water and UV damage. The proposed works will be undertaken by specialist conservators and aim to stabilise the mural and preventing further deterioration, while also improving its visibility and presentation.
It is important to note that while the works applied for do not include overpainting, which has been employed on other Haring murals around the world, Arts Victoria has not ruled out future overpainting, should appropriate materials become available that would not damage the original artwork.
The mural was painted in 1984 by the late Keith Haring, a highly influential artist and social activist from the United States. It is now one of only 31 known murals by Haring that are left in the world. The mural was added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 2004.
The mural came into Arts Victoria’s care in 2010 when it was decided that the Old Collingwood TAFE site at 35 Johnston St was a suitable space for a new headquarters, rehearsal and performance space for Circus Oz . The mural sits on a section of the site that is not involved in the Circus Oz redevelopment however works on both projects will be undertaken concurrently, subject to approval from Heritage Victoria.
New York-based Keith Haring, who died of an AIDS related illness in 1990, visited Australia in 1984 where he undertook art projects in Melbourne and Sydney. His mural at the then Collingwood Technical School on Johnston St, was his first outside of the USA.
It is interesting to note that there is a preservation order on this work of art which falls under Heritage status. Now if only we could apply this same rule to the Banksy works that are going missing in the UK, were talking!