DESPITE a petition to “remove the faces at Cockburn train station”, Public Transport Authority (PTA) corporate communications manager David Hynes said they were there to stay.
A recent spike in interest in the “faces of Cockburn” has seen a resurgence in people urging the City of Cockburn and PTA to take the artwork down.
Peter Shurmer, the man behind the long-running campaign, supported a petition for their removal, saying it was time.
He created the Facebook page “remove the Cockburn train station faces” six years ago and said it was the City of Cockburn’s chance to act.
But City of Cockburn director of planning and development services Daniel Arndt said the artwork was not the property of the City so it did not have jurisdiction over whether the artwork stayed or goes.
“The artwork was contracted directly by the Public Transport Authority (PTA) as part of the State Government per cent for art contribution for the MetroRail project,” he said.
“The artwork affixed to the north and south faces of the clock tower at Cockburn Central Train Station is entitled Face of the Community and was erected in 2006.
“The artwork consists of two faces, one of a middle-aged lady and another of a young boy.
“The faces were produced by artists Marco Marcon and Rodney Glick using hundreds of photos of local residents digitally combined to provide an interpretation of the community and public transport users.”
Mr Hynes said there had been no recent complaints and the PTA had no plans to remove the faces.
“In 2015, after a similar surge in social media comment, we considered removing them,” he said.
“However, after consultation with the council and following a well-patronised public survey, they were retained and a new piece of public art was installed on the third side of the tower, facing the town centre.
“Note that one of the basic concepts behind public art is that it stimulates public debate.
“On this basis alone, the Cockburn faces have been extremely successful – they have attracted criticism but they have also won support.
“Also, given that many hundreds of Cockburn residents were directly and indirectly involved in the production of this work, the local community can honestly lay claim to a genuine sense of ownership.”