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Cleaners – quite rightly - have come in for some much-deserved praise over the past couple of years, but recent stories have shown that it will never always be plain sailing in our industry…
It’s not the first time that this kind of thing has happened, but the latest bout of, perhaps, over-zealous cleaning, came courtesy of a team in Cardiff, Wales, who mistakenly removed popular street art that had been commissioned to celebrate diversity. Painted by three female artists - including Turner Prize nominee Beth Blandford - it had beautifully covered 11 concrete pillars in the city centre and had taken inspiration from feminism, black women, afro hair and the Bajan community. In a statement to www.walesonline.co.uk, project organiser PWSH said everyone was "absolutely devastated" that the artworks had been removed, before alluding to “some sort of city centre cleansing team miscommunication”. Commissioner ‘FOR Cardiff’ apologised and said: "We were made aware that due to a devastating error involving our cleansing contractor, the beautiful artworks on the pillars in the area have been removed. We offer our sincere and heartfelt apology to the talented artists 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 one that can be rectified…”
The week before last, cleaning crews caused a major power outage which disrupted operations at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in the USA, causing long delays and cancellations involving more than 100 flights. Airport officials said the outage was caused by water damage which also took out the international airport's backup generator.
While I’m not party to why these accidents happened, I wonder whether the Cardiff cleaning crew thought to ask about the artwork before starting to remove it? Perhaps they did, but were unable to contact someone in authority and took the decision upon themselves? With regard to the water damage at the airport, I’m unfortunately well aware of how much damage can be done by someone being careless, distracted or insufficiently trained for the task in hand – or perhaps someone who’s simply feeling unwell – since my daughter Melissa cleaned her washing machine filter last evening and neglected to fit it back in securely before attempting to do her washing. She wasn’t around to see the water flowing out and the machine just kept on filling… Oh, the mess!
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25th November 2021