Painting Over History

Another little bit of Wellington history was given a ‘big brush over’ earlier this month.

It was a row of old shop-front signs on the corner of Cuba and Ghuznee Streets (which looked as though they originated from the middle of last century).

It’s the sort of thing which goes on all the time, but we usually only take notice when someone is a knocking over a building, not painting over it.

But should we consider ‘painting’ cultural vandalism as well?

Photo by Hannah Souter
Photo by Hannah Souter

When you think about it, the concept of ‘permanence’ is all relative anyhow. A painted street sign has a lifetime of years or decades – a building of decades or centuries – a city of centuries or millennia – and of the earth itself, it has a mere 7.5 billion years to go (at best).

Put it in that context and the perceived value of a street sign seems a bit silly doesn’t it?

But then again, it’s all about our own lifetimes and our memories. Having remnants of the past, and even our parents or grandparent’s past, is kinda comforting.