Guerrilla artists in Melbourne are splashing colour over concrete blocks set up around the city’s central business district last month to stop militant attacks with vehicles. “It’s good to see Melbourne style hitting the bollards,” said 26-year old office worker Jamie Young.
About 200 concrete bollards have been put up in 11 pedestrian areas of the city, following two incidents in the city this year in which cars mounted pavements. Six people were killed and scores injured in one of the incidents. “For me, it’s about reframing the idea of the bollards,” said George Forgan-Smith, who works as a general practitioner specialising in men’s health, and who covered several of the blocks in a harlequin-patterned material.
“They are grey, they are hard, they are cold. By at least putting these covers on the bollards, we are saying that we understand that some horrible things have happened, but from the darkest of times, the most beautiful art can come,” he told Reuters in an interview. Concrete blocks have also been put up in Sydney after a spate of vehicle attacks in cities around the world.
Australia has been on a “high” national threat level since 2015, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalised in Iraq and Syria. A spokeswoman for Melbourne City Council said the concrete blocks were a temporary solution and the council was considering longer-term options such as seating and planter beds.
In the meantime, more bollard art is coming. “I’m not stopping,” Forgan-Smith said. “I’m crocheting as we speak … So look out Melbourne, there is more crochet yarn-bombing on its way.”