The artist who created the Wollongong mall's palm tree up a pole is a little mystified about a CBD burger joint's decision to target the work.
His Boy Elroy has created the palm tree up a pole burger, saying all the funds will go to rehousing it in the ground at the botanic garden.
Aside from not being contacted by anyone at the burger joint, artist Mike Hewson is confused about how the palm tree has become connected with a move to re-open the mall to vehicles.
"It's a cute video they made, it'll help sell some burgers and stuff," Mr Hewson said.
"Everyone's got their understanding of the way they want their environment to be. It seems like there's interest among different groups to change the configuration of the mall.
"That's up to what Wollongong wants to do with the mall but it seems a strange thing to bring the artwork into that conversation around de-pedestrianising the mall - I don't see how that ties in."
People who start bandying stuff about making things grow in the ground, make sure you've put all your pot plants in the garden.- Artist Mike Hewson
Mr Hewson said there is a water and nutrient delivery system built into the supporting pole - which was not a standard light pole but specifically engineered to hold the weight.
"It's effectively in a pot," he said. "Much like anyone who has a pot plant at home.
"People who start bandying stuff about making things grow in the ground, make sure you've put all your pot plants in the garden."
Some of His Boy Elroy's social media posts suggest the palm tree cost Wollongong City Council $430,000.
However, Mr Hewson said that cost was for the entire installation, which also includes the large rocks and playground at the Kembla Street end - the tree up a pole was "much less" than a quarter of the budget.
The palms in the project were rescued from an area about to be logged and so have already been rehomed, Mr Hewson said.
Some people in the Illawarra art community are unhappy with His Boy Elroy's approach, criticising it on their social media pages.
"There's a huge amount of support and there are people who have other thoughts on the project," Mr Hewson said.
"But it's definitely better that other people are speaking on that topic, because it's the Wollongong public's work."
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