As an entity, the Canterbury Sale Yards has been around since 1874, but its building's stood vacant for over 25 years. Now sporting weeds, no roof or windows, its blank walls are canvasses for myriad 'street artists'.
You'll find the Sale Yards on Chch's Deanes Avenue, across the road from South Hagley Park and just up from Moorhouse Avenue. I've visited there several times to look at the graffiti...before I continue, I'll put on record that I'm not in favour of graffiti on public walls. To me it's multi-coloured vandalism with limited and base vocabulary...however, a good point about the Sale Yards graffiti was that all the tagging was confined to the internal walls where it was not hurting anyone. Indeed, it possibly helped reduce tagging around the local area. Though most was just coloured scribblings, there're some very good works of 'street art'. This all provided a vibrant backdrop for many photo/art students and some wedding photographers too.
I write in the past tense because last Sept/October, a community group "tidied up" the ruin. These do-goody-good wowsers took it upon themselves to roller insipid beige paint over almost all of the work, and thoughtlessly erased two pieces of special significance to the taggers: a memorial to a teenage girl, and a 7ft. tall face.
The roller work's happened at least twice! I'd be very interested to hear the reasoning behind the community group's vandalism. Under whose authority was it done? The building owner's? The council's? Did The Lord move in mysterious ways?
Unless there's sound justification, this was nothing but social bullying under a thin holier-than-thou pretense of 'tidying up the neighbourhood'. Ironically, it's also provided a clean slate for new tagging!
Whilst I don't defend tagging, I say: leave the Sale Yards alone until it's bulldozed.
As a taggers' easel, it's not hurting anyone!