SURF Lane off Jonson Street in Byron Bay is one of those locales that look innocuous enough but are really sacred ground for a section of the local community.
When local art collective Popped Collective announced that as part of an out door art project (part of Byron Council's Place making initiative) the lane way would be re-painted by a new group of artist the alarm was raised on social media regarding the change and the fate of the honour roll of local surfing identities that features in the existing work.
This concern followed the recent controversy around over the re-vamp of Lateen Lane by a separate art collective known as Elysium, even though the two groups are completely unrelated.
The re-vamp is to form part of Popped Creative's 'Popped' a "transformational project, which will take place on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May with a urban lane way activation event, encompassing live art, street food, bar, music, special lighting, green (living) walls, bespoke sustainable furniture and a talks and ideas program.”
The existing artwork was created under the auspices of Byron United (the then Byron Chamber of Commerce), the Byron Bay Boardriders Club and the Byron Bay Malibu Club.
Current President of the Byron Bay Boardriders Club, Neil Cameron was adamant that if the re-vamp of the alley was to proceed, "They have to honour the names that are already on the role, especially the names of the two deceased surfers, Ben King and Ben Donohoe.”
"I thinks it's really important the people planning this makeover talk to all those named on the roll to get their feedback on any changes.”
Abbie Gibson and Monique Hartman from Popped Creative said the name Surf Alley would be retained and the honour roll names would be incorporated in a permanent plaque that will form part of the new project. Ms Gibson said she has already met with Bob McTavish, just one of the names on the roll, and he had expressed support for the project.
Artists involved in the project Nitsua, Jeremy Austin and Teazer said their new work would draw from the surfing subject matter that was already there.
"We are definitely going to pay respect to the history of the alley, it was obviously first done by all the local surfers and they all contributed to the existing mural,” said Nitsua.
"There is talk of a permanent plaque (of all the names) that is solid and is going to be there long after even our work gets painted over.”
Ms Gibson said the Popped team was committed to social and environmental responsibility. "Local supplier Painted Earth has donated paints that are eco-friendly and non-toxic, and the event has a zero waste policy,” she said. "Go Byron and Steer group are working with the event to promote responsible drinking and getting home safe.”
Full program details will be available soon. For tickets and further information go to: www.poppedcreative.com
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