The “I Have a Dream” (Martin Luther King) mural, painted over two nights in August 1991, is the largest, most prominent, and the longest-surviving of the many large format murals created around Newtown by the team known as Unmitigated Audacity Productions, the core members of which were New Zealand-born Canadian artist Andrew Aiken and his colleague Juilee Pryor. They were assisted in this mural by Tony Spanos, who provided a cherry-picker to allow the upper part of the mural to be painted. It commemorates American civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr.. One of the last surviving large-format murals in the area, it displays a large portrait of Dr King, next to a large painted depiction of the Apollo 8 photograph of the Earth from space, and Dr King’s quote “I have a dream” in large Gothic lettering, near which is the quotation from Genesis 37:19: “Behold the dreamer cometh; Come now therefore and let us slay him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams”.
The upper section of the design remains largely unchanged from its original concept. A portion of left-hand-side of the mural was damaged by a 2011 fire that destroyed a temporary ticket booth set up nearby, but it was restored soon after. The lower part of the mural has gone through numerous changes since it was first painted. At the time the mural was created, there was a raised garden bed against the wall of the building and the shrubs planted there partially obscured the bottom section, which initially featured a painted collage of a group of people. The council cleared the vegetation soon after and the lower part of the mural soon began to be defaced, notably with racist graffiti, which Aiken and Pryor quickly painted over, sometimes with anti-racist slogans. Frustrated by criticism of the mural by Marrickville Council’s Community Arts Officer of the time, Aiken then over-painted the figures with a quotation from the officer (“Murals are no longer a valid art form”) in large white Gothic lettering. He subsequently repainted the entire bottom section with a Newtown “Declaration of Independence” that featured a large blank space and the invitation “Sign here”. At some point after this was painted, the council removed the garden bed and the declaration was in turn replaced with the design that is still in place, a large representation of the Aboriginal flag. [from Wikipedia ]
Marrickville Council in whose turf the mural resides, is attempting to have the mural heritage listed after an unanimous vote at it’s meeting on December 02, 2014.
As reported in the Daily Telegraph / Inner West Courier of December 03, 2014 by Matt Pearson & Sarah Sharples: ” Marrickville Mayor Mark Gardiner said many people would be unaware that they are looking at an illegal piece of artwork.
A heritage report commissioned by council found that the mural is of local historical, aesthetic and social heritage significance.
“It notes that the community maintains a sense of ownership of the mural, and anonymously repairs any damage to the mural that occurs,” a council document said.
“It is also the subject of a documentary completed in 2012 and its own Facebook page. Although the artists never thought the mural would remain, it has endured to become an iconic image associated with King Street vista and the Newtown community.” “
- NEWTOWN PROJECT – a City of Sydney initiative about Newtown : I HAVE A DREAM
- I Have a Dream Facebook Page
- Very good story in The Daily Telegraph [of Dec 03, 2013] about the two brilliant grafitti artists Julie Pryor and Andrew Aitken who painted the mural illegally;
- A similar very good story is also found in the Sydney Morning Herald
- Julie Pryor has her own website HERE > and it has some backstory and images of the work