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Feature – Reclaim The Night, The Jill Meagher Tribute & Hosier Lane

Okay. So, you probably all know about the Jill Meagher tribute piece that was painted in Melbournes Hosier Lane last month  …

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(image via StreetsmART)

Then, a few weeks later, some of you may have seen this … news … story on the Herald Sun ..

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The thing is, though, is that after the Jill Meagher tribute piece in Hosier Lane was painted over, the media (and many other media outlets) in all their “cant get news right” wisdom actually attributed a completely different piece as having painted over it.

“News” outlets such as the Herald Sun made a big song and dance about it, skerricked up some lame quote from someone who occasionally walks through the lane, as well as one from Robert Doyle, and made it out as if the piece being painted over was a terrible, heinous act by a bunch of vandals. Even worse, was that they didn’t even get onto the story until a week after the piece had actually initially been painted over  – by then, they had already missed the story. Instead they decided to publish an image that wasn’t the correct piece, and then attempted to vilify a group of artists because they had painted graffiti over … a piece of graffiti.

The real story, however, was that the wall had  initially been reclaimed by a bunch of awesome female artists paying both homage and respect to the “tribute” piece in the best way possible – by bringing attention to the plight of those affected by violence and sexual abuse. If anything was appropriate to replace that tribute to Jill Meagher, it was what these ladies did. Then, when you think it couldn’t get any worse, was that when the media outlets that reported on it were given the real story, they completely ignored it. It was no longer news to them, they’d all already magic’ed up their own sensationalist version of the truth and moved on to the next “news” cycle.

Imagine our surprise.

This story speaks for itself, directly from the artists who painted over the Jill Meagher tribute piece in Hosier lane two weeks ago. Unlike the Herald Suns, Channel 7, 3AW “news”, The Irish Times and The Suns (to name just a few) hugely incorrect version, this is what really happened down at Hosier Lane.

Please read on, and share it around – not just for the reason that it is the real story, but for fact that it is a wonderful act by a group of women who wanted to bring attention to the terrible actions of the darker side of humanity, and those who suffer because of them.

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JOSKE

 You may have seen and read a lot of bullshit online and in print (and even via our most trusted form of media, the Channel 7 news,) about the shame-full act of vandalism that occurred over the RIP JILL mural in Hosier Lane.

For the record a group of five women reclaimed that wall on Friday 26th October at 5pm. Why? Because it was our right, and to be perfectly honest, no-one else had the courage to do it.

After the tragic death of Jill Meagher, a visiting graffiti tourist decided it would be a nice gesture to show his respect by painting his condolences on a world famous wall – which at the time was covered with some of the most technically amazing, and aesthetically beautiful graffiti that Melbourne has ever been fortunate enough to see.

The irony is that this simple act showed an absolute disrespect to the artists whom he went over, as well as to the local Melbourne graffiti community. The mainstream media took hold of the story and ran with it. The Melbourne City council even proposed to ‘protect’ it.

Meanwhile, I decided that something had to be done about it. How dare this mural remain in my city? How dare the general population of Melbourne glorify a victim of sexual violence by sensationalizing an illegal graffiti mural? I was really fucking angry. I reached out to my local network of female graffiti artists and proposed that we reclaim the space during the official Reclaim The Night march on the last Friday of October. We took it back as a protest against sexual violence on women and children, and we took it back so that beautiful ephemeral art could once again be created on that wall for all to see.

Since that Friday night, several artists have painted on the wall. Unfortunately some of those artists were blamed for vandalizing the RIP Jill mural. I contacted each and every one of those online and printed news article journalists to provide our story and explain the reasons behind the re-paint, but not one of them wanted to hear it. Mainstream media don’t want the truth, they want sensationalism.

You know what? Fuck them! We own the streets and we will paint whatever we like on them.

You’ve heard my side of the story, here’s what the other ladies had to say.

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SKIES

I wanted to paint Hosier Lane because it’s the graff community’s wall.

It’s nice to be able to relax and paint in the city sometimes before work and it’s awesome to check out new pieces. 20 metres of wall, taken away from us permanently, was just wrong – the fact it was just a stomper which covered some really burner pieces, is just disrespectful. It’s one less spot to paint and that RIP mural belonged on the lines really.

We left Jill’s name anyway, 1m of wall for a tribute is fine with me.

I’m annoyed at the media for publishing an incorrect story. The family is probably feeling worse now because they’re being told that the stone placed where the body was found was removed and the tribute art was painted over. The media have done more damage than good (no surprises there). If they had the real story, they would have known the pieces covering the art was not only for Jill but for all women. It has also portrayed some graffiti artists as cold hearted – which simply isn’t the case. When the public and police saw us painting over the art and knew the reason, they were very understanding and supportive.


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LILAR

We all dream of a better world where violence and abuse is unheard of, unfortunately this is not the case. It happens on a daily basis to women of all shapes and age. Nearly two thirds (57%) of Australian women will experience assault in some form in their life time which develops long-term effects on all relationships and within the community. Quite clearly this is too much, this needs to be stopped. When I was invited to paint hosier lane on behalf of ‘Reclaim The Night’ I was wholeheartedly involved as this is an issue close to home. This was an opportunity to give me a voice and to use public space at night without fear, this should be an everyday right. We are all human and we all bleed red just because of gender, someone should not put restrictions on their lifestyle.

On the matter of painting over the RIP Jill mural, this was by no means any disrespect to her or her family, this was to raise awareness to the real and unfortunate attacks on women that occur on a daily basis. Traditionally Reclaim The Night is a march, however my interpretation is to say that we are never to blame for rape or violence. Those who commit the crimes are to be blamed, we demand the right to be able to live without fear and demand for an end to sexual violence so we can enjoy our freedom.

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MOISEL

Reclaim the Night is a annual worldwide march by woman for woman. Victims of rape, mental or physical abuse and domestic violence need to stand tall together and demand our human rights as females, and to feel safe in our streets. Painting over this mural with female graffiti artists was in respect to what happened to Jill Meagher and all woman of all countries who have been sexually violated. This act of painting was to speak out to woman and girls that rape and violence is not on and needs to be stopped now.

When I was approached with this idea, I was honored to be able contribute and help raise awareness of ‘Reclaim the Night’  – what better place to spread the word and have the opportunity to speak to others passing by than Hosier Lane.

I hope a message was sent out to the public that what we did was not a sign of disrespect for painting over the mural, but simply a way of raising awareness to others in the community to speak out and help one another. Woman and young girls should absolutely feel safe walking Melbourne streets alone. We left the ‘Jill’ section of the wall out of respect to her and her family, and it is sad to see that the next artists to paint the wall went over this. I hope that more people will choose to join the annual marches and tell their friends about it. We need more woman standing up for our rights and to help stop Violence against Woman.

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MAIDEN

I wanted to keep drawing on the media coverage of this repulsive act, that women and children, even men, are being sexually violated by predators and unjustly victimised by persons of the law.

The bottom line is we should be safe in our streets, that’s our right no matter what age, sex, social status, mental state, attire or anything else the law can put in the mix that ‘forced’ predators to act in this way.

Reclaim your right, reclaim your night!

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(Please click on the image above for a detailed view of the actual work that replaced the Jill Meagher Tribute Piece)

RESOURCES:

http://www.wire.org.au — Women’s Information and Referral Exchange
Telephone Support: 1300 134 130 Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm
Email: inforequests@wire.org.au
Visit Info Centre: Ground Level, 210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

http://www.casa.org.au/ – Centres Against Sexual Assault

CASA House
Address: Level 3  210 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne 3000
Phone: 9635 3600
Email: casa@thewomens.org.au
Website: http://www.casahouse.com.au

Ed. We’d like to say a big thankyou to Joske, Lilar, Maiden, Skies and Moisel for sending us through this story. We wish that the media had of actually paid attention to this, and we share your disgust at how the whole thing was handled by them – why invent the truth when the real story is so much more important?

We hope that your words find their way to all those who need to read them.

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Press Mill – Early September 2012

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Okay, it’s been a while – I havn’t had a lot of extra time away from covering shows and shit to get around to some of the columns that I enjoy doing, but I’m going to make a start by getting back into the Press Mill. Press Mill is our regular wrap of all the main stream press, blog and associated media articles surrounding street, graffit and underground art here in Oz, and NZ.

So, without further ado ….

Well, that’s about all we have for this week, we’ll be back with more on the next round …

Just as an aside on this article, we think RJ over at Vandalog misunderstood the targeting a little. The petition only used the NGV as a conduit to present itself to the respective governments, not that it was specifically targeted at the NGV. The NGV have, (in recent years), become quite great supporters of Melbourne street art. The “fine art establishments” that are mostly referred to in the link provided with the petition – http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/about_us/strategies_and_policies/funding_summary, ie Orchestras, Opera, Dance and questions why there is $0 funding for street art when it is ranked so highly, and other “fine art establishments”, which are not, receive millions upon millions of dollars. Perhaps this part of it could have been clearer. This was why the petition was delivered to the NGV, as CDH knew that they would regard the issues on the petition with the seriousness they deserved; and they did, by placing it in the gallery for several days.

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Press Mill Wednesdays – August 2011

Back again after a massively hectic month of article writing and editing! August has been an interesting month in the news, so here is your wrap up of all (most all!) things media related in Oz and New Zealand …

  • Mandy Ord and her work was in the SMH last week also – you mgiht know her from the Inherent Vice event that was on down at the NGV, who did a cool comic book interview for us! Great article!
  • Fintan Magee was featured on the SMH and The Age websites. We interviewed him this week about it all …
  • There’s a bit of a write up about the Oi! You! show in NZ over at the Nelson Mail … interesting read! There’s also an article there about Josh Manu, one of the 20 finalists selected in the event.
  • Stormie Mills got written up all over the place for his show at Metro, and this is a cool article on the artist – but, umm, I mean, that byline? lol – oh Herald Sun, you romance novel loving funsters, you!
  • Oh look, another stupid law in South Australia – yeah, because removing some ones license is going to stop them painting. It was stupid when it was first suggested, and its stupid now. Wake up, SA – and what’s with media outlets using what look like legal pieces attached to articles on illegal work?
  • We actually caught out OnePerth doing the same thing last week, where they had a piece on illegal graffiti (well, probably anything that looks colourful) being removed from all over Perth because the Skeksi, I mean, the Queen, will be visiting. They removed the pic and replaced it with a tag (which isn’t too bad a piece of calligraphic art). I guess its nice to see the media actually paying attention to its readers, but it would be nice if they all actually stopped using legal artwork to go along with their graffiti "scourge" pieces.
  • Oh and hey look, go NSW! So progressive of you! Now that you’ve put in harder laws, you’re going to choke your legal system even more by forcing people who have"graffiti implements" to go to court, instead of getting a caution or diversion. Sounds great! Idiots. Ears said it perfectly in the article – "Until there’s some understanding and acceptance of the culture, and actual facilitation for it to grow – not just token gestures – then I don’t think things are going to change.”
  • Anyways, on to something nicer – Toowoomba artist Ian McCallum did some legal work last week at Sojo Collections – looks pretty colourful and cool, dude.
  • The Footlocker Art Prize was won by Brisbane artist Kalin Thompson, and heres an interview with him – nice kicks and nice work!
  • Everyone’s talking about those "Banksy" inspired pieces that the NZ Police have done up around the place to get new recruits. Funny how they’d promote themselves with something that they are later going to arrest people for. I mean. Really?
  • A little bit left of centre for the end of this run, but Gizmodo had an article up a week or two ago about an Alternate Realty application for iPhones that lets people paint the walls around the place … hmm. Yeah, nah.

Now, we certainly don’t condone illegal acts of vandalism here, but we will certainly condemn idiotic laws that are out of touch with modern culture. There was also a whole lot in the press in the last month about a whole bunch of stupid laws, and people being forced to pay ridiculous amounts in damages. It would be nice to see full cost breakdowns as to where all these officials get their estimates when they are claiming "it caused $100k in damages." I bet in reality it costs a hell of a lot less than what is purported.

Regardless, I still think the Queen looks like a Skeksi.

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Press Mill Wednesdays – The Return

Time to get back to the Press Mill Wednesdays, where we recap all of the “mainstream” press surrounding the art we all love. The column was put on the backburner for a little bit whilst we did some behind the scene restructuring, and now, given there is a little more free time on this editors hands, we’ll be able to get back into a few more special columns for you.

So, right into it …

  • Deb, Amuse, Simon Clouston, Jess Cook and other street artists all raised money for the environmental group Borneo Orang-utan Survival – $11,000 worth, last week – wonderful.
  • A great little article in the Age about the recent painting in Union Lane by some young creatives, under the mentorship of Paul Round. Great to see this kind of thing!
  • There has been a lot of news in recent times as to the proposed re-vamp of the Keith Haring mural in Collingwood – The Age had another article on it a week or so ago.
  • Theres a “Phantom Knitter” on the loose in Hobart, and the ABC tried to track them down … nice little piece on some cool yarn bombing.
  • Sounds like Sydneys China Town is getting a revamp – including a bunch of “street art” – Jason Wing will be doing a big piece, which sounds pretty cool  … but, you know, it hurts my head thinking about the hypocrisy, considering the new NSW laws against street art and all …
  • A really nice and heart warming, positive piece a young guy using a spray can as physical therapy – you go, Sam Ford!
  • Students at Goondawindi State High got up in a big way and painted  their local PCYC – this is a fantastic example of integrating street art into the curriculum – more more more.
  • Some recent news on the case against a NZ artist who is being sued in court in a civil action by the Auckland City Council – I’d like to know where they dig up their figures, apparently it costs around $100/$200 to remove one tag – really? ffs …
  • Owen Dippie is making splashes both in NZ as well as over in NYC – this Herald article covers it all pretty well – he’s been going large!
  • Finally, there is a really, really great article up on Voxy about all the artwork that is going up in Christchurch, celebrating all of the police who did heroic things during the quakes – a cool example of the beautiful uses of urban art …

That’s it for this week – see you back with another regular Press Mill in a fortnight.

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