Head On Photo Festival has reinstalled photos stolen from the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, after vandals ripped them from a fence.
Unfortunately, the photos were not returned and had to be reprinted.
The prints are by British photographer, Tariq Zaidi, and part of his Sapeurs Portrait Series, which show elegantly dressed African gentlemen, primarily from the Congo.
Last Tuesday, May 7, Head On staff discovered four of 11 photos had been ripped down, with one found hanging off a nearby fence.
Head On Foundation director, Moshe Rosenzveig, said this is the first time in 10 years something like this has happened and he hopes the prints will be returned.
‘We’ve had 10 festivals and we’ve never had any issues with images in the past. No vandalism, nothing was stolen, nothing disappeared. A tiny bit of graffiti last year … but people generally speaking are very respectful,’ he said on Tuesday to Sydney Morning Herald. ‘We just probably have to reprint it. My concern is not the cost of the printing. My concern is it will take a few days to print, meanwhile people cannot see the work.’
Moshe added that by having free outdoor public installations, there’s a trust that the public will not vandalise or steal them.
‘There’s not much else we can do with this. We live in an environment where we hope people can enjoy these things and don’t basically destroy it for other people,’ he said. ‘If it happens more, we won’t be able to do it, and the city will turn into once again a boring place with no stimulating visual material that we have at the moment.
‘We’ve got a number of installations in the city and they’re all very exciting and the response we get from the public, a lot of response from the public over the years, has been how wonderful it is.’
Head On has several outdoor installations in the Sydney, at places like the gardens, Circular Quay, Pitt Street Mall, and Queen Victoria Building. Speculation is that Tariq’s photos were targetted partly due to the lack of cameras, and low visibility.
‘There’s no point me getting angry or upset … I’m obviously upset, but there’s not much we can do unfortunately.’
Head On runs until May 19, and Tariq’s photos can be seen at the top entrance of the Royal Botanic Gardens.