Mayor Branded Philistine for Ordering Mural Removed

LAMPANG — Life is short, but the lifespan of public art might be even shorter.

A mural painted on the base of a historic bridge to celebrate the launch of street art project was removed Monday per order from a local mayor who criticized the artists for defacing the structure.

“I don’t reject street art, but we have to see what is appropriate,” Lampang City mayor Kittiphum Namwong said in an interview. “This bridge is 101 years old. It has a long history. A majority of Lampang residents love and cherish that bridge.”

The graffiti painted on the northern province’s Rassadapisek Bridge, known as “the White Bridge” by local residents, became a hot topic on social media after Kittiphum called for its removal Sunday.

การวาดรูปลงที่ฐานสะพานรัฎษาแบบนี้ ประชาชนคนลำปางเห็นด้วยหรือไม่…ผมในฐานะประชาชนคนลำปางและฐานะนายกเทศมนตรีไม่เห็นด้วยเป็นอย่างยิ่งคนทำต้องรีบแก้ไขจัดการโดยด่วน.

โพสต์โดย นายกกิตติภูมิ นามวงค์ เมื่อ 20 พฤษภาคม 2018

The project is part of the city-funded effort to promote street arts along the banks of the Wang River. By Monday afternoon, the artwork had been removed. Throngs of people visited the site and took photos with it before removal work started.

Rassadapisek Bridge. Photo: Lampang Government Website

Some took the social media to disagree with the mayor, saying the work could have drawn tourists.

“Why did you erase it? I think it’s pretty. It could be a new tourist attraction. People can take photo and check-in with it,” Kantima Prapruetdee wrote in reply to Kittiphum’s online post. “Even though I’m from Chumphon province, I want to visit it. I’m jealous of your beautiful street art.”

“Please open up your eyes and mind to accept arts,” user Jiw Krab wrote. “Art never hurt anyone. Only narrow-minded people destroy art.”