The council and the good side of graffiti


p2277-Mik-Shida-2 By DANIELLE deBRENNI
The Alice Springs Town Council has its problems with graffiti but next month it will co-sponsor a festival that includes a workshop teaching the often troubling art form.
At least that was the plan until the workshop was cancelled – apparently over some people not having an Ochre Card which is required by anyone teaching children, whether graffiti or other things.
The workshop organisers are saying they are seeking discussions – watch this space.
The function was due to be part of a Youth Arts and Music Development Festival starting on October 24 and sponsored by the council, in conjunction with the Alice Springs Youth Action Group.
It was due to feature graffiti artist Mik Shida whose work (pictured) is well known throughout Australian capital cities and internationally.
Deputy Mayor Steve Brown, who has been known to be opposed to graffiti in public places of Alice, says although he wouldn’t describe himself as a connoisseur of the art form, he does recognize the skill and creativity required to produce such works.
“People of world renowned skills are always welcome in our community. It is great exposure for both parties [Mr Shida and our community] and we should always be open to new ideas and interested in seeing ourselves through the eyes of a highly successful visitor.”
p2277-Mik-Shida-1The workshop will be focusing on the use of spray paint as a medium and aiding the development of individuals’ skills.
“Given that there does exist a legal well-recognized and accepted form of graffiti art I guess that it should be taught to those interested in learning the skills,” Mr Brown says.
“I’d much rather see people actively engaged in classroom settings, learning an art, rather than idly roaming the streets, spray can in hand.”
The workshop – if it goes ahead – will be open to the Alice Springs public, for ages 12 to 21, over three weeks.
Participants’ work will be displayed in an exhibition at Witchettys, Araluen, on November 20.


  1. Hope they are more careful than others have been in the past to ensure it doesn’t become a workshop on the use of spray paint as an inhalant.

  2. There are quite a few exemptions in regards to the requirement of an Ochre card ( Besides, getting clearance is a fairly quick and easy exercise. Cancelling an event for this reason seems a little … odd?
    On another topic, I believe I read somewhere recently that the council has not once paid out a single reward for the dobbing in of a vandal that lead to a prosecution.
    I guess this is not surprising. I recall sending a photo of several vandals, caught in the act, with faces clearly visible to the main ASTC email – I did not even get a response.

  3. Graffiti wins hands down over cement, cements just grey,
    Graffiti has vitality, concrete is grey,
    Graffiti is today, corrugated iron is grey,
    Graffiti tells a story, in colours, not in black and white but also not in grey.
    Graffiti is hieroglyphics, runes and geoglyphs. From Egypt to Britain to Peru.
    Graffiti is on the walls of caves.
    Graffiti is just another persons expression.
    Let it be taught, so it’s good.
    So organise the ochre card and lets have some quality graffiti.
    because bad Graffiti is close to grey.

  4. Totally agree with David Oakes. Graffiti is art, and I would love graffiti artists to come and paint my horrible fence lines, one of them belong to the council as it is an alley. (I will supply the paint.)
    Graffiti range from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and they have existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.The term graffiti referred to the inscriptions, figure drawings, and such, found on the walls of ancient sepulchres or ruins, as in the Catacombs of Rome or at Pompei.
    “I am an urban artist
    painting up the town
    creating an impression
    designed to make you frown.
    Do you hate my slogans
    my anti capitalist tirade?
    I aim to cause frustration
    to annoy the monied brigade.
    Life, it isn’t fair
    I know not to expect too much
    and not a single bastard will help me
    so I kick them into touch.
    You can clean away the graffiti
    place cameras on the wall
    but one thing that you can’t destroy
    is my mean and brooding soul.


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