The community of Jindabyne is shocked and confused by the actions of a vandal who painted over a mural of a superb fairy-wren at the Kurama Reservoir, completed recently over six days by local artist Ben Eyles.
The mural was allegedly graffitied between Monday, 20 July and Tuesday 21 July.
Following inquiries, officers from the Monaro Police District arrested a 40-year-old Dulwich Hill man at Mascot Police Station at around 11.15 am on Saturday, 25 July.
The graffiti, which covers the entire original mural, appears to commemorate champion snowboarder and Australian Winter Olympium Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, who died in a spearfishing accident in Queensland in early July.
The man has been charged with three offences, including entering enclosed lands, destroying or damaging property, and intentionally marking premises without consent.
He has been released on strict conditional bail to appear at Cooma Local Court on Wednesday, 19 August 2020.
The Snowy Monaro Regional Council issued a statement expressing their sympathy with the community and the artist.
“We were beyond disappointed to hear today that the recently completed Superb Fairy-Wren mural on the Kunama Reservoir in East Jindabyne was vandalised last night.
“This act is immensely disrespectful not only to the artist and the community but to the memory of Winter Olympian Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin.”
The council has removed the graffiti by painting over the water tank. They say they hope to engage closely with artist Ben Eyles so the mural can be repainted.
Ben is the Artistic Director of Jindabyne’s Easter event, Lake Light Sculpture, and is also an art teacher at Jindabyne Central School. He has won several sculptural awards for his works, which often amplify the plight of threatened and endangered wildlife species.
Ben’s work on the water tank was supported by grants from Create NSW and Snowy Monaro Regional Council but Jindabyne locals have been so outraged by the act of vandalism that they have set up a fundraiser to help pay Ben to re-do the work.
The fundraiser has already exceeded its $5000 goal, with excess funds said to go towards other public art endeavours in the area.