Southsea mural graffitied for first time in 23 years as artist blasts 'nasty dinlos'

GRAFFITI vandals have targeted a much-loved mural that has loomed untouched for 23 years in Southsea.

Sunday, 6th June 2021, 4:24 pm
The Strand mural in Southsea was vandalised by graffiti artists who damaged the longstanding artwork by Mark Lewis. Picture: Mark Lewis

Muralist Mark Lewis is devastated his Strand work had been damaged by three unknown people who took advantage of climbing scaffolding in place for maintenance work.

The work on the 3,000 sq ft wall, created in 1997, is on the junction of Waverley Road and Clarendon Road, in Southsea.

Taking to Facebook today, Mr Lewis said: ‘(First) world problems...but totally devastated!!!

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Artist Mark Lewis at the Strand mural at the junction of Waverley Road and Clarendon Road in Southsea. Picture: Sarah Standing (171120-8698)

‘Why do some want to destroy all the good we do?’

He added the graffiti was ‘the first time in 23 years’ it had been targeted.

Maintenance work was underway repairing cracks and other imperfections inflicted by weather and time.

Mr Lewis told The News: ‘It’s nasty. I haven’t got up there yet but it’s going to cost us.

‘I’m gutted, obviously it’s money and time and maybe specialist materials.’

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Mr Lewis said will have to sand it back to the wall and render.

The vandals have sprayed over the edges of the mural, and the eyes of one family pictured in a window.

‘The worst bit is they even sprayed all the eyes of a family that sponsored it, and they’re devastated,’ he said.

‘Luckily they didn’t do the map, which is good, all the details and memorials.

‘They’ve done it on the edges and blank spaces which I’m thankful for, a little bit.

‘It’s the price of a bit of fame, they their bit of fame.

‘They just don’t get it – it’s not the way it’s done in the art world.’

Rectification work will take around three weeks and eat into the £4,700 grant recently award to the project by Portsmouth City Council.

Neighbours said they saw three people on the scaffold at around 9-10pm on Saturday night.

On the graffiti artists’ possible identities, he said: ‘We know a lot of people and it probably won’t take too long to work out who the dinlos are.

‘They put their names on it.’

Mr Lewis drew fire in the run-up to last month’s election after adding a message about two councillors who opposed the funding.

It said: 'Local Tory Cllrs Luke Stubbs and Linda Symes objected to a small grant for this mural.’

Cllr Symes is an independent, having been suspended from the Tory group for sharing what were called ‘undeniably racist’ posts on social media.

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