Living Walls Disappear for The New York Times

Posted on January 22, 2013 in Editorial

I’ve been so excited to see murals go up all over Atlanta with the Living Walls initiative. I travel often and one thing Atlanta really lacks is public art (and a beach, but that’s another story).

On the way to another shoot, an editor at The New York Times asked if I would drive by one of the new Living Walls murals and grab a quick photo because the city had plans to paint it over. As luck turned out, I arrived just as the beautiful mural was disappearing. I stood in the median as cars passed, a few people flipping the bird and honking at the city workers. Of course the team that was painting over the mural had nothing to do with it, they were just doing their job.

Still, it was really painful to watch something that took so much time and artistry to create get whitewashed.

I spoke to one of the state employees at the scene. “I hate that it had to be covered up and that people put posters over it, but it is what it is and we got to do it,” Ida Riddle, a GDOT employee working to cover the mural said. “I feel bad for the artist.”

Why did this particular mural by Pierre Roti receive the erasing treatment? Because residents said it was demonic.

Yep. Demonic.

“Mr. Roti, who traveled to Atlanta on his own budget and spent 11 days on the mural, said he found the reaction confusing. He intended the mural as an allegory about the brutality of capitalism, not a statement on religion or demons.

“It has left me speechless,” Mr. Roti said. “But if the community decides to take it down, why not?”

More about this in The New York Times HERE.


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