A Luton artist was left “devastated” after her council-funded artwork which took her “months” to prepare was accidentally painted over by workmen.
Aimi Rix created a mural last Friday (May 17) to represent the town “emerging out of the grey” with its diverse communities and creativity.
The artwork, which was painted on a wall at The Mall, Church Street, showed a multi-coloured hand pointing upwards with colourful clouds around it.
However, the image at the shopping centre was covered up by Sunday (May 19) and the piece is now due to be re-painted next week.
Aimi said: “I used the grey to represent Luton’s grey background and the hand was the artistic hand emerging in a colourful explosion.
“At the time I was absolutely devastated, and The Mall was equally devastated.”
Manager at The Mall, Roy Greening, said: “This specific project hadn’t been fully communicated out to the operational team as I am due to meet Aimi on Friday to discuss our current projects, and believed we would discuss the timeline then.
“Aimi started the work whilst I was on holiday last week, to take advantage of the fantastic weather we’ve been having.
“In an unfortunate turn of events, our operational team, believing this to be unauthorised and acting with (unusual) speed, painted the wall.
“We are of course, sorry this has happened, and are supporting and working with Aimi to rectify things as soon as possible.”
However, the artist admits that it was a miscommunication from all parties and sees the funny side.
She said: “I think it was a team effort. I can’t say it was particularly one person’s fault and I’ll take some of the blame.
“I just saw the weather and thought let me get out there now while I’ve got the equipment; I hadn’t necessarily communicated well what was happening.
“It’s a bit like the Banksy piece that was shredded - now you see it, now you don’t!
“The mural took about five or six hours. But it will be back again next week.”
Aimi was born and bred in the town and went to Bushmead Primary and Icknield High schools.
She always had a passion for the subject and after a spell of working in business and the pub industry she decided to focus on art around ten years ago.
You may recognise her work, as she was the lead artist for Power in Paint in conjunction with Save Our Town at Power Court, was the lead artist on ‘Tunnel Vision’ at Marsh Farm, and has also painted the colourful Feast Street entrance at The Mall.
Aimi said: “I really enjoy working with The Mall. They are always up for trying something new.
“There’s a lot of bad press with people saying that shopping centres are dying out, but they are eager to have the shopping centre as an environment for the community.
“It’s a joy to have someone that says ‘yes, let’s try that.’”
She added: “People complain about Luton but don’t do anything to make it better?
“I’m a big fan of the [football] club and our town, and I find art is a way to bring people together; I want to thank everyone for all the support I’ve had. I want to decorate Luton - and then the world!”