A sculpture by John Dahlsen in Apex Park, Byron Bay has been graffitied.
A sculpture by John Dahlsen in Apex Park, Byron Bay has been graffitied. Cathy Adams

Big root cops a spray

BYRON Bay's "big root", as it's not always affectionately known, has been defaced by graffiti.

Late last week yellow paint appeared in three places on the $30,000 sculpture that was installed on the beachfront in December 2011.

The renowned local artist behind the award-winning piece, John Dahlsen, said while the graffiti attack was disappointing, it could be easily fixed.

He has written to Byron Shire Council advising that it can be cleaned off using hot soapy water and a sponge.

Before it was placed on public display, Mr Dahlsen agreed to provide personal public liability insurance to cover all possible damage to it and covered it in various protective coatings to help minimise this possibility.

Six months after its installation, the sculpture, which weighs 2.75t, is 6m long and has a root ball standing 3m high, continues to divide the opinion of locals and visitors.

The work's official name is Monumental Environmental Artwork but some have labelled it monumentally ugly.

Others question its location.

"An eyesore" and "why place it in such a prominent place blocking the view of the beach?" were just some of the unprompted comments of passers-by when The Northern Star inspected the sculpture yesterday.

Others were impressed by the sheer scale and beauty of the piece made from a camphor laurel tree, a local weed.

The artist enjoys his work being a talking point.

"Good art tends to polarise people," Mr Dahlsen said.

He said 98% of the feedback he had received had been incredibly positive.

"I fully respect the opinion of the 2% with adverse views.

"I think all opinions are valid."

"I put it out there knowing that it was a social experiment."



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