Miranda mural divides community but Sutherland Shire Council says its hands are tied

An eye-catching mural on a privately-owned building at Miranda has divided the community, with some praising it as a work of art while others are opposed to its depiction of young women.

The mural, on the corner of Karimbla and Kiora roads at Miranda, has resulted in at least two petitions - one asking for it to be removed and another pledging its support.

One of the petitions is "Karimbla Rd in Miranda. Obscene Artwork" while the other is "Save our Local Artwork".

The mural sparked debate over the weekend following a post on Sutherland Shire Council's Facebook page.

Facebook user Josie Louise said while she was a "big fan of street art" this one "isn't the best".

"Young girls who look drunk, drinking, smoking and looking quite hooker-ish," she wrote.

"A shame because the artist has a nice style but the content is very wrong.

"Does anyone else feel the content is inappropriate?"

The post drew numerous comments, both for and against, before Sutherland Shire Council stepped in to remind people about the terms and conditions of its Facebook page.

"Whilst this public art is not on council property, it's definitely generating a lot of discussion and debate," the council wrote, before urging the community to have its say by phone or through its website.

A Sutherland Shire Council spokesman said more than 450 people had commented on the Facebook post, with the majority in support of the mural.

He said the council had received "a small number of complaints relating to a privately commissioned artwork prominently displayed on a Miranda premises".

"As this artwork has been painted on a privately owned premises, council has limited powers under the Graffiti Control Act to either to remove the artwork or to compel the owner to do so," the spokesman said.

"Under the Act, council does retain some powers to remove graffiti on privately owned premises where that graffiti is deemed to be offensive through the use of rude, offensive or discriminatory words, phrases or symbols.

"As this artwork does not breach these standards, council does not intend to formally request that the owner of the premises remove it."

He said the council "acknowledges the appreciation of any public artwork is inherently subjective, with any individual piece likely to generate a range of opinions within the community".

The spokesman said that while the council had spoken to the building owner "to articulate some of the community concerns that have been expressed regarding this artwork", the council had "not requested that the artwork be removed and could not seek to do so under existing powers prescribed by the Graffiti Control Act".

This is despite assertions by the authors of both petitions that the council had done so.

The case against

Josie L started the "Karimbla Rd in Miranda. Obscene 'Artwork' petition, writing: "Karimbla Road (cnr Kiora Road) in Miranda depicts a 'street art' piece showing three young females who appear drunk, on drugs, beaten up and quite 'Hooker-ish' in their appearance, all while drinking and smoking

"This 'art' is positioned right near Westfield shopping centre and the train station, where many adolescents walk past. There are also two day-cares in walking distance and ... Centenary Park. It is also a part of the Miranda Commercial Precinct," she wrote.

"This is not a petition to stop public art, as it can enhance a public space, it is not a petition against the freedom of artists or free speech. It is a petition for the owners to take responsibility for clearly promoting smoking, drinking, drug taking and the public display of young females shown in a suggestive and degrading manner in a public space."

According to the petition, "Sutherland Shire have contacted the owner who refused to remove the piece. We are hoping that the council applies Local Government Act 1993, Section 125, to force the removal based on a public nuisance. Nuisance being: Cigarette and alcohol advertising is restricted to people not of legal age to drink/smoke."

"If you feel this content needs to be removed then please sign [the petition] and share."

You can view the petition by clicking here.

The case for

Dominic Santucci said on the "Save our Local Artwork" petition that the "historic mural" adds "both culture and flavour to our streets".

"This artwork is conveniently positioned right near Westfield shopping centre and the train station so many of the public get to enjoy, including our learning adolescents," he wrote.

"This is a petition to encourage public art, as it can enhance a public space, including ensuring freedom of expression and or free speech.

"Sutherland Shire have contacted the owner who refused to remove the piece. We would like to say thank you to the owner!"

You can view the petition by clicking here.