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Stripes tacky, tokenistic


The band of coloured stripes laid across Gladstone Road is a tacky design made more desultory by tyre-tread marks from tacky tar-seal that now streak through it.

This letter is not a poke at diversity in gender-identity. It's an observation that the striped band is tokenistic, a badly conceived symbol the function of which fails to rise above that of a placard.

The rainbow is a distant reference in an optically startling design devoid of aesthetics, imagination or fabulousness. The social media-grade response is the band adds a splash of colour to the CBD — but the risk with the lurid is it lacks in aesthetic or coherence with its environs.

There is room for more public art in Gisborne, certainly, but what we don't need is to add to other embarrassments such as the grey blob on a Peel Street seat bench, the badly composed purple shark on the Walter Findlay building's formerly beautiful Art Deco facade, or the bright orange paint used for the two whales in the Bright Street car-park mural (whales are so dull they need a splash of colour?)

The tar-streaked stripes on the main road will remain, of course. The town might even get more of them to add to our other public art embarrassments. But if the choice comes down to mediocrity or nothing, nothing will always be the better option.

Mark Peters

  1. Ken Ovenden says:

    Hi Mark, agree with you on some points. Remember, artists are allowed “some licence” to their respective pieces. The one I find troubling is the seal on the Bright St apartments which looks like it belongs above a fishmongers, as it appears cut up ready for sale/consumption. Yuk.

  2. Perry Anderson says:

    Well said Mark. You’ll find it’s a select few artists who get their mitts on doing the art work around town – who you know, small town syndrome.