David Bowie Mural May Get Green Light From Singer’s Family

A makeshift shrine could become a permanent memorial.

A mural in South London has become a shrine to the late David Bowie. Photo: Jim Dyson, courtesy Getty Images.
A mural in South London has become a shrine to the late David Bowie. Photo: Jim Dyson, courtesy Getty Images.

When musician and artist David Bowie died on January 10 at age 69, shocked fans around the world were quick to express their sorrow. In London, a mural depicting the singer became a makeshift shrine, with people leaving flowers and other tributes in front of the artwork in the days following the singer’s death.

Now, reports the BBC, the local Lambeth Council will be listing the artwork in order to protect it as a permanent memorial. The mural is located in Brixton in south London, the neighborhood where Bowie was born. It depicts the musician with colorful lightning bolt face paint, as he appeared on the cover of Aladdin Sane in 1973.

Brian Duffy, album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane (1973). Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. ©Duffy Archive and The David Bowie Archive.

Brian Duffy, album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane (1973).
Photo: courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, ©Duffy Archive and the David Bowie Archive.

The council issued a statement saying that in light of the “outpouring of affection,” the site, currently called Tunstall Place, might be renamed in Bowie’s honor. They are considering erecting a statue of the singer, but “it is ultimately the family’s decision as to what may be appropriate,” said Lambeth Council leader Lib Peck.

Australian artist James Cochran, known as Jimmy C, painted the mural on the side of the local Morleys department store in 2013. “There’s not much street art out here, not compared to east London where I normally paint,” he told the Brixton Bugle. “I found the wall and got the go-ahead from Morleys.”

David Bowie at the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards.Photo: Andrew H. Walker Getty Images.

David Bowie at the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards.
Photo: Andrew H. Walker Getty Images.

Cochran was stunned by the overwhelming show of emotion following Bowie’s death, and the worldwide attention received by his work. He has since produced a limited-edition print of the piece, with 20 percent of sales to benefit cancer charities.

The legendary singer had been battling terminal liver cancer for 18 months, but had kept his condition a secret as he rushed to complete his final album, Blackstar, released just two days before his death.

British singer David Bowie performs on stage during a concert in La Courneuve on July 3, 1987. Image: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images.

British singer David Bowie performs on stage during a concert in La Courneuve on July 3, 1987.
Image: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images.

Crowds also congregated in New York outside Bowie’s Soho apartment, and a somewhat less popular piece inspired by Cochran’s work appeared in Sheffield, England. There has also been a push to rename the Berlin street where Bowie once lived in his honor.

In Brixton, the council will clean up the memorial site in the next week, removing any remaining flowers and collecting cards and signs for the council archives. Messages written directly on the wall surrounding the mural will be preserved.


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