Bungling cleaners wash away murals by three young female illustrators after art mistaken as graffiti


Bungling cleaners wash off murals by three young female artists who were commissioned by the council… after art was mistaken for graffiti

  • The striking coloured murals aimed to celebrate diversity in Cardiff city centre
  • Artists had only finished the illustrations 10 weeks before they were washed off
  • For Cardiff, who commissioned the art, offered a ‘heartfelt apology’ to the artists
  • The creators said they felt ‘devastated’ by the ‘honest mistake’ made by cleaners










Three young female artists have been left feeling ‘distraught’ after their vibrant murals celebrating diversity in Cardiff were washed away by bungling cleaners who mistook them for graffiti. 

For Cardiff, the company who commissioned the artwork, said the striking coloured paintings on 11 concrete pillars near a former Debenhams had intended to ‘brighten up’ the city centre, and they offered a ‘sincere and heartfelt apology’ to the artists.  

The private organisation said the illustrations painted by Beth Blandford, Amber Forde and Temeka Davies, were washed away following a ‘communication error’ with cleaners. 

The creators described feeling ‘devastated’, ‘distraught’ and ‘gutted’ over the mistake, which happened less than 10 weeks after they finished the work. 

Diversity murals created by three young artists in Cardiff city centre have been washed away in an 'honest mistake' by cleaners

Diversity murals created by three young artists in Cardiff city centre have been washed away in an ‘honest mistake’ by cleaners

The murals had been painted to 'brighten up Cardiff' and celebrate diversity, and were created by three young female artists

The murals had been painted to ‘brighten up Cardiff’ and celebrate diversity, and were created by three young female artists

Artists spent up to 16 hours a day on the murals, only for them to be washed away in error less than 10 weeks after they finished

Artists spent up to 16 hours a day on the murals, only for them to be washed away in error less than 10 weeks after they finished

For Cardiff said: ‘We were made aware this morning (14th October) that due to a devastating error involving our cleansing contractor, the beautiful artworks on the pillars in the area around the former Debenhams has been removed.

‘We offer our sincere and heartfelt apology to the talented artists, Beth Blandford, Amber Forde and Temeka Davies who took the opportunity to brighten up Cardiff and contribute to its vibrant and exciting culture through their artworks and we’re simply gutted for them. 

 ‘It was an honest mistake but unfortunately, not a mistake that can be rectified.

‘Investment in these emerging artists was provided via the FOR Cardiff businesses and as such we’re as saddened as the artists and public that are they’re no longer there for everyone to enjoy’.

Artist Temeka Davies with a mural she painted in Cardiff city centre, which was mistakenly washed away by cleaners less than 10 weeks later

Artist Temeka Davies with a mural she painted in Cardiff city centre, which was mistakenly washed away by cleaners less than 10 weeks later 

City centre paintings, commissioned by For Cardiff, which had looked bright and striking until a communication blunder led to them being washed away this week

City centre paintings, commissioned by For Cardiff, which had looked bright and striking until a communication blunder led to them being washed away this week 

Eleven concrete pillars in Cardiff city centre adorned with bright primary colours to celebrate diversity, until they were cleaned away by mistake leaving the artists devastated

Eleven concrete pillars in Cardiff city centre adorned with bright primary colours to celebrate diversity, until they were cleaned away by mistake leaving the artists devastated

A mural in Cardiff city centre by Beth Blandford, who said she was 'absolutely gutted' her work had been washed away in error this week

A mural in Cardiff city centre by Beth Blandford, who said she was ‘absolutely gutted’ her work had been washed away in error this week 

Ms Blandford, 25, said she was ‘absolutely gutted’ her work had been washed away. 

The Turner Prize-nominated artist from Cardiff had adorned several pillars in paintings of women from various cultural backgrounds singing, dancing and performing. 

Ms Blandford, who paints under the name Blandoodles, told the BBC: ‘I’m absolutely gutted, I can’t believe it, it took me about five days and most of those days were 12-16 hour days.

‘We really planned this project out, we were so excited, it’s a real shame.

‘I feel like public art in Cardiff is something that is lacking anyway, especially from female artists and showing female and diverse communities.’ 

Ms Forde also told the broadcaster she was ‘devastated’ and ‘distraught’ that her artwork, which she had designed to reflect her half Bajan half Welsh background, was gone.  

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