Brick Lane residents and business owners are relieved that the council hoarding,proclaiming the area to be the “2012 Curry Capital”, has been removed to leave the renowned crane mural by Belgium street artist Roa visible again.
The discovery prompted people into taking action to restore the artwork to its original glory; and on Tuesday night council workmen moved in to remove the offending advertisement.
The mural of the giant crane has been a feature in the Brick Lane area for the past two years, and has attracted plenty of attention from people in the area as well as visitors. An online petition was started to protest against the hoarding and try to get it removed.
The petition claimed “This piece of artwork (the crane) is seen by many as a representation of the abundance of creativity we are so lucky to have here in the borough of Tower Hamlets. The artist painted the crane as it is an important animal in Bengali culture and therefore shows a unity between the area’s two most important communities – the Bangladeshi community and the creative community.”
They argued that the council hoarding, which had Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s face on it, was not necessary anywhere, saying: “Everybody that visits the Brick Lane area is immediately aware that it is famous for its many curry houses and you can see and smell the restaurants in this unique and vibrant area before reaching Hanbury Street if you walk from any direction.”
To date over 1,500 people had signed the petition although it is unclear as to how many of these people were from the local area.
Asmal Hussain owns the building on which the crane mural resides, and was reported to be furious when he discovered that it had been covered up. He had previously given the council permission for a small notice, but was shocked to find the artwork completely covered.
In an interview with the East London Advertiser Hussain said “I’m glad it’s been taken down, I allowed Roa to paint the wall when he came to me two years ago-but I didn’t want it covered by a banner with Mayor Rahman’s picture on it.” Hussain threatened the council with legal action if the hoarding was not removed.
East London Lines spoke to other local shop owners, and although they had not noticed that the hoarding had been removed, were very glad to hear that it had.
In a statement to East London Lines Rahman said “Given the affection in which the illustration is held at my instruction the council removed the banner this morning and the planning application has been withdrawn.”