I’ve been writing a column for the wonderful Caught By The River project, and my latest piece for them was about the Millennium Walk graffiti wall, doomed by Cardiff’s impending UEFA Champions League football fest.
Where can you find existential ponderings about mathematical logic, sharing wall space with messages about Mother’s Day, paedo ring cover ups in the BBC, and a sketch of Marge Simpson with a massive spliff in her mouth? In other cities, perhaps this sort of thing is omnipresent, but in Cardiff, there’s only one place: on the banks of the River Taff, at the graffiti wall on Millennium Walk.
Read the full article and see the photos here: Wandering the River Taff: Millennium Walk and the Doomed Graffiti Wall
To be honest, it’s kind of amazing the graffiti wall has lasted as long as it has, given its PRIME LOCATION (and like the song says, dollar bill y’all, dollar dollar bill). It’s just a shame that seemingly every nice public space in the city has to celebrate alternative community has to be sacrificed for profit (see also: the Abacus, but hopefully NOT Womanby Street).
I just read this morning that a new space has been secured for the wall: in Callaghan Square, on the southern outskirts of the city. Oner Signs will still be co-ordinating, so if you’re desperate to paint please contact them rather than just rocking up and tagging!
If you’ve never heard of Callaghan Square, well, that’s because it’s basically just a bit of a strange nomansland of a place – a walkway across the middle of a massive roundabout that hugs the edge of the city between Butetown and the city centre (go to the north end of Bute Street – it’s there). Ie – a bit of a shit spot.
I know the artists will be happy they’ve been given somewhere by the council – anywhere is better than nowhere, after all. Graffiti is still a bit ‘cutting edge’ I guess for the majority of people who make planning decisions in the city (Cardiff council planning department – step forward and prove me wrong!), so I suppose just any space seems like enough in their eyes.
Callaghan Square is by no means a like-for-like location. Millennium Walk was a wonderful place, because it brought massive amounts of exposure for the artists and the art form itself to people who probably would never go and seek that out. And yes, the new space is used by skaters, so it’s nice in that sense, but it feels a bit like ghettoising the art form. Get it back in the centre! Make it visible!
How nice it was … to be able to amble down the river and enjoy (or be confused by – reactions are irrelevant guys, it’s ART) the murals on those walls.
Anyway, there have been a bunch of things published about the wall, so I thought I’d do a bit of a round up here:
- Cardiff has a new graffiti wall and work has already started (Wales Online)
- Petition: Save Cardiff Millennium Walkway Graffiti Hall of Fame (Change.org)
- Walk of fame! Walk of shame! (DiffGraff)
- A graffiti wall ban on Cardiff’s Millennium Walkway comes into force ahead of Champions League final (Wales Online)
- No News = Good News? (Millimagic)
- Millennium Walk Away (DiffGraff)
If I’ve missed anything, please leave links to more pieces you’ve seen in the comments. And RIP this quirky, wonderful little segment of the beating heart of our city centre.
Photography by Lorna Cabble
- Sign up for the weekly We Are Cardiff newsletter
- Check out what’s going on with We Are Cardiff Press
- Like us on Facebook
- Squawk @ us on Twitter @wearecardiff
- Follow us on Instagram/WeAreCardiff