Roar deal for dragon mu­ral

South Wales Echo - - News - JOSHUA KNAPMAN Re­porter [email protected]­line.co.uk

A MUCH-LOVED piece of street art in Cardiff will dis­ap­pear for­ever when the build­ing it’s painted on to is torn down.

Any­one who’s hopped off the train on match day and headed down Scott Road in re­cent years will recog­nise the red dragon mu­ral, which was painted onto the side of St David’s House in 2015.

The fire-breath­ing beast is ac­com­pa­nied by the words “Croeso i’r Ffwr­nais”, which is Welsh for “Wel­come to the Fur­nace” – a friendly warn­ing to ri­val sport­ing fans com­ing to the na­tional sta­dium of Wales.

But now Righ­tacres, the de­vel­op­ers of Cen­tral Square, have con­firmed the art­work won’t be saved when the build­ing is de­mol­ished.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul McCarthy said: “The graf­fiti art will be de­mol­ished with the build­ing in Fe­bru­ary this year.

“The artist was aware that the mu­ral was ‘tem­po­rary’ as was the il­lus­tra­tion on Mar­land House de­mol­ished last year.

“Righ­tacres has full plan­ning ap­proval from Cardiff coun­cil for the de­mo­li­tion of St David’s House.”

The art­work was cre­ated as a tem­po­rary piece after the artist’s orig­i­nal mu­ral on the same spot was painted over.

At the time, artist Bryce Davies said he hoped it would send a strik­ing mes­sage to Eng­land fans who would pass it on their way to what was then called the Mil­len­nium Sta­dium dur­ing the Six Na­tions. Bryce, who’s been a graf­fiti artist for 20 years, said that the piece in ques­tion wasn’t com­mis­sioned but was “his gift to the city”.

The 35-year-old, who also goes by Peace­ful Progress, said: “The tem­po­rary na­ture of walls is some­thing I’m used to.

“Graf­fiti by its na­ture – un­less it’s com­mis­sioned pieces – can quite of­ten be tem­po­rary.”

He added: “It’s been up there for a few years now, that piece, and it’s been great that it’s been part of the com­mu­nity.

“I’m pleased that it’s had the life it’s had and that it’s been re­spected by other artists and the pub­lic have had such a good re­sponse to it – I al­ways see peo­ple tak­ing pho­tos in front of it.

“At the end of the day, you can’t stop progress.”

The de­mo­li­tion of the build­ing is part of the plans for the con­tin­ued Cen­tral Square de­vel­op­ment.

St David’s House, which has been home to of­fices and shops in Wood Street op­po­site where the bus sta­tion used to sit, has seen the likes of Tesco, Boots and Greggs move out.

They’ve all re­lo­cated around the cor­ner in the Cen­tral Square devel­op­ments as the St David’s House de­mo­li­tion edges closer.

Bryce added that he’d be up for repli­cat­ing some­thing sim­i­lar in Cardiff if it was com­mis­sioned or if there was a high-pro­file pub­lic wall avail­able.

“It’s not some­thing I’m dev­as­tated about,” Bryce said, adding: “Hope­fully, if peo­ple en­joy see­ing pub­lic art of that na­ture in Cardiff, per­haps peo­ple like the coun­cil or de­vel­op­ers should keep that in mind for op­por­tu­ni­ties in the fu­ture.”

AN­DREW JAMES

The Dragon mu­ral by Bryce Davies, below left

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