Democratic Progressive Party New Taipei City councilors Lee Chien-ping (李倩萍) and Chung Hung-jen (鍾宏仁) during a city council meeting on Tuesday said that many of the murals that can be found throughout the city have lost their purpose and should be re-examined.
The murals — which are often commissioned by borough wardens — sometimes add a special charm to the area, but as they have stopped being thematic, some residents have complained that the pictures seem out of place, the councilors said.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) echoed the sentiment, saying that murals must have a purpose and should highlight the surrounding communities’ characteristics.
Photo provided by New Taipei City Councilor Chung Hung-jen
The city government would re-examine its policy on the murals, he said.
Chung — who said he had an assistant take photographs of the city’s nicer murals — said that some of the works added special charm to the city, but cited residents as saying that the murals in their area were “arbitrary paintings of cartoon figures.”
“Of course, wardens can do it their way, but when the city is issuing contracts and supplying materials, it should also have some checks and balances in place,” he said.
The city should give some input about where a mural is to be placed and what it should depict, he said.
“Whether something looks nice is subjective, but whether it is appropriate should be discussed,” Lee said.
When murals were first being painted in the city, they were intended to reflect the history of the surrounding communities, she said.
However, many murals look random and arbitrary, despite the city putting aside a large annual budget for the purpose, she said.
Lee suggested that under the city’s supervision the murals could be painted by art school students, or used as a space for the communities’ children to express themselves.
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