David Bowie mural in Brixton to be protected, says Lambeth council

Painting by artist Jimmy C on side wall of department store became a shrine for fans after the singer’s death in January

Lambeth council is to protect the David Bowie mural in Brixton, south London, that became a shrine after the singer’s death in January.

The mural, on the side of Morleys department store on Tunstall Road, has drawn thousands of fans who have left tributes and flowers to the Brixton-born singer.

Lambeth council announced that a local listing would protect the mural and that it was considering renaming the area after being “overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection”.

The council is also in talks with Bowie’s family about suggestions for a permanent memorial, including statues and place naming.

Lib Peck, the council leader, said in a statement: “It is ultimately the family’s decision as to what may be appropriate. We must respect that and be patient. Lambeth residents have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection visibly demonstrated by floral tributes, messages and people visiting the Bowie mural to pay their respects to this unique Brixton boy.”

Peck added that the council was in contact with the Bowie fan club and other Brixton organisations “who want to honour the memory and legacy of this extraordinary artist.”

The council’s street-cleaning team has been working to maintain the floral tributes at the site, but remaining flowers will be removed next week. Photographs of the mural, posters and tributes commissioned by the council will be mounted and given to Morleys, the O2, Pop Brixton and other organisations that wish to display them.

Morleys will keep messages on the brick wall while non-perishable items such as drawings and cards will be stored in the council archives.

Bowie died in January aged 69 following an 18-month battle with cancer. Hundreds of fans converged in Brixton after his death to pay tribute his career. Groups sang along to guitars at various locations, including the Ritzy Cinema, which had “David Bowie: Our Brixton Boy. RIP” written in the lettering above its entrance.

Last week, the Australian artist who created the Brixton mural in 2013, Jimmy C, said he chose the area after researching Bowie’s life. “There’s not much street art out here, not compared to east London where I normally paint. I found the wall and got the go-ahead from Morleys,” he told Brixton Bugle newspaper.

“People naturally started coming here, so that was amazing. By the end of the day there were thousands of people here.”

Bowie was honoured at the Brit awards last month, when singer Lorde and the backing band that worked with Bowie on his final two tours performed a moving rendition of Life on Mars. The performance received thanks from Bowie’s son Duncan Jones, who tweeted that it was “just... beautiful”.

Bowie was also honoured at the Baftas and the Grammys, where Lady Gaga performed a medley of his hits, backed by a band led by Nile Rodgers.

Bowie fans will be able to buy a rare re-release of The Man Who Sold the World on Record Store Day 2016, which takes place on 16 April. Also available will be a 50th anniversary edition of Bowie’s singles on the Pye record label, titled I dig Everything: The Pye Years 1966.


Nadia Khomami

The GuardianTramp

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