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Atlantans Paint Over ‘Satanic’ Mural

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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An abstract mural thought to feature “satanic” elements incited some residents of an Atlanta neighborhood to paint over the public art installation Friday (Nov. 9) morning.

Roti mural in Atlanta, GA
Living Walls / Facebook

Members of a southwest Atlanta neighborhood said the mural depicted "satanic" elements.

Armed with gray paint and rollers—but no permit—irate members of the Pittsburgh neighborhood in southwest Atlanta covered up the mural, which includes a man with an alligator’s head eating fishes and snake-like creatures, reports relate.

“The fishes were satanic; the scales were satanic. You know, they just don’t feel that it represents their community,” resident Angel Poventud told a local television station.

Public mural defaced in Atlanta
Angel Poventud / Creative Loafing Atlanta

The mural was covered in gray paint Friday morning by a group of outraged community members, including a former state lawmaker.

The original work, which was painted over the summer and adorns a wall along a main thoroughfare in the city, was created by French artist Pierre Roti and commissioned by the artist nonprofit group Living Walls.

Salvage Effort

Many public art supporters arrived at the site Friday afternoon with supplies to try and wash off the gray paint, according to numerous reports.

Volunteers trying to remove gray paint

Volunteers and GDOT crews tried to remove the gray paint from the defaced mural.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews also arrived at the scene with a light pressure washer to help remove the cover-up paint, reports said.

“You can’t just paint over something just because you don't like it,” Living Walls Director Monica Campana told United Press International. Campana said she did not want the incident to discourage other artists from taking part in public art projects.

Ex-Lawmaker Helps Deface

Among the outraged residents who helped roll out the gray paint was former Georgia State Rep. Douglas Dean, according to various reports.

Dean told Creative Loafing Atlanta that he had painted over the mural because the community had not been consulted on the project.

Living Walls project mural

Another of Living Walls' murals, showing a woman undressing, sparked debate among Atlanta residents in late August.

The mural is one of 18 pieces intended to spruce up blighted areas across the city.

Permits Questioned

Following Friday’s events, many have since questioned whether the proper permits were in line for the Living Walls organization to commission the work in the first place.

Campana told news outlets that three City of Atlanta departments had approved the mural.

However, the ultimate fate of the art may be in the hands of the GDOT, which owns the wall. The state agency said it had not issued a permit for the mural and would likely have to cover it up after all, reports relate.

A request for more information from GDOT was not returned Monday (Nov. 12) morning.

A Nude Controversy

This marks the second time in recent months that a Living Walls’ project has incited outrage among Atlantans.

Over the summer, a mural by the Spanish artist Hyuro, featuring a woman at 34 stages of undress, was eventually covered up after residents complained that the mural was “pornographic.”


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Artists; Design; Government; Graffiti; Murals; Murals

Comment from Frank McDewell, (11/13/2012, 8:44 AM)

french artists and spanish artists, don't we have any american artists?

Comment from Paul Braun, (11/13/2012, 8:57 AM)

mind-boggling. Everyone knows just painting over a satanic fish doesn't neutralize its demonic powers. Why just the other day I cooked up a grilled cheese sandwich that had a satanic cheese drool. The only way to diminish its power was to eat it.

Comment from sharon steele, (11/13/2012, 10:29 AM)

These are wise words, Paul!

Comment from John Fauth, (11/14/2012, 8:41 AM)

An artistic organization commissions a foreign artist to paint a mural without public comment/advice/approval from the local community on a wall they don't own and have not received permission to paint, which is then defaced by certain elements of the local community who are disturbed by the mural's content. Now see if you can find all of the stupidity on display in this story. Anyone need a hint?

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