Glenelg seafront residents petition to remove ‘too bright’ mural

A $30,000 mural has upset South Esplanade residents who say it is too bright and clashes with their sea views. See the pictures

May 27, 2024, updated May 27, 2024
A previously blank concrete wall at Glenelg South has been painted with a colourful mural. Photo: Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

A previously blank concrete wall at Glenelg South has been painted with a colourful mural. Photo: Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

The mural painted in orange, yellow and blue stretches about 100 metres along Glenelg’s South Esplanade along a previously blank concrete wall.

Holdfast Bay Council allocated $30,000 to the artwork in its 2023/24 budget to “address the increasing foot traffic of the coastal path with the need for more public art”.

The mural was painted in February and March and also depicts plants indigenous to the area.

Glenelg mural

Left photo: supplied. Right photo: Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

Glenelg mural

The mural stretches 100 metres along Glenelg’s South Esplanade, just south of The Broadway Cafe. Photo: Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

But the artwork has prompted a petition from 11 South Esplanade residents demanding the council either remove it or consult with residents “to consider how to tone down the colours so they ‘blend in’”.

Petition organiser Raelene Elmes said the orange paint was “far too bright”.

“I’ve lost my beautiful sea view because all you see first is the other colours,” she said.

Glenelg mural

The view from the South Esplanade before and after the new mural. Photos: supplied

“I don’t have a problem with the artistic side of it.

“But I do have a problem with the colours because the colours… are wrong for there because we’re the ones that live with it.”

Glenelg mural

The wall before it was painted. Photos: City of Holdfast Bay

Elmes said the mural reflected the sun into her lounge room and “even on a dull day that is really bright in your eyes”.

She also criticised the council for what she perceived to be a lack of consultation and said it should have been painted with greens, silvers and greys.

“I just think they’ve just done it all wrong,” Elmes said.

“Some people will go ‘oh, but that’s really nice!’. But they’re only walking past it for two minutes, they’re not looking at it all the time.

Glenelg mural

A before and after of the South Esplanade mural. Gif: Google Maps

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“I don’t have a problem with the artist – it wasn’t the artist’s fault – it’s because council picked this colour.”

The mural was painted by Adelaide artist Alex Bellas, who is understood to have given the council a series of colour options for the mural while it was being drafted.

Bellas told InDaily she was willing to change the colours once residents gave her negative feedback as she painted. However, she said the council told her to stick with orange because the mural had already gone through a long approvals process.

Glenelg mural

Bellas’ painted them mural across February and March. Photo: Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

“At the end of the day I did my absolute best to please everyone, which is ultimately impossible, and despite the challenges I can say I’m proud of the work that went into this massive job,” she said.

“Public art has such a positive impact on community, and despite the 90 per cent who have shown so much support towards this mural, there will always be the 10 per cent who don’t love it.

“That’s the case with all art.”

Glenelg mural Alex Bellas

Adelaide visual artist Alex Bellas said the majority of feedback about her mural has been positive. Photo: Thomas Kelsall/InDaily.

Bellas, whose artwork features in several hospitality venues across Adelaide, painted the Glenelg mural with a roller and brush.

Holdfast Bay Mayor Amanda Wilson said the council was now “looking at whether the orange can be dulled down but while keeping the integrity of the mural”.

“The orange is a bit bright,” she said, adding that the mural was “really loved in the community”.

“That part of the Esplanade does not have much greenery and no trees and so it is a big splash of colour.

“In my experience, public art can be controversial as it is subjective. I love the mural. It brings life. It is bright.”

The petition against the mural is listed on the City of Holdfast Bay’s Tuesday meeting agenda.

A spokesperson for the City of Holdfast Bay said the mural was commissioned using an open invitation process “in accordance with Council’s Public Art Guidelines”.

“A selection panel comprising the mayor, an elected member and three Council staff members shortlisted three artists to submit a concept design and from these artist Alexandra Bellas’ concept was selected,” the spokesperson said.

“The mural has received positive feedback from the community but we are aware of the concerns raised by a small number of residents, and council staff has a meeting scheduled with a resident tomorrow to discuss the mural.”

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