September 16, 2012 Slideshows

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Story of the Sawtell mural 

The life and death of a piece of public art
Martha Cooper
On August 14, 2012, Argentinean street artist Hyuro began painting a mural on Sawtell Ave. as part of the Living Walls street art conference.
Martha Cooper
When Living Walls submitted its applications to the property owners about a week before the conference began, the proposal for Hyuro's wall depicted a series of chairs, not nudes. Hyuro decided to rethink her approach after seeing the wall, which was much shorter in height than she had anticipated.
Martha Cooper
Each frame was hand painted with three small brushes, allowing Hyuro to add the fine details.

Hyuro completed her vast, 275 foot mural in only 4 days.
Dustin Chambers
The full mural depicted a woman undergoing a transition. In 37 frames, a woman grows fur and sheds her coat, which morphs into a wolf that walks off.

Many people regularly visited Hyuro's wall.
Dustin Chambers
The mural was located immediately across the street from a church, one block from a mosque, and three blocks from a federal penitentiary.

Many community members struggled with understanding the mural's message, as well as the nudity depicted in the public piece of art.
Dustin Chambers
Tom Jones from Channel 2 reports from Hyuro's wall, careful not to expose viewers to the "pornographic" material.

Channel 2 was one of many local and national news organizations to pickup news of the controversial mural.
Brandon English
On Monday September 10, community members of of Chosewood Park hold a community meeting about the mural. Members for and against the piece came out and passionately voiced their opinions.
Brandon English
Living Walls founder Monica Campana speaks to community members.

After the sun had gone down, voting members of the association (you have to have attended at least three meetings in the last 12 months to vote) gathered to vote on a motion to leave the mural as is. The motion did not pass. Another motion was made to have the mural removed or replaced, which passed. Ultimately the mural's fate was up to the owners of the wall, however this motion turned into an official recommendation to the property owners to remove or replace the mural.
Dustin Chambers
On September 12, the mural was vandalized. "Take this shit to buchhead[sic], negative shits" is scrawled over several figures of the woman.
Dustin Chambers
The vandals also covered up any instances of the woman's crotch.
Dustin Chambers
At 12pm on September 16, members of the Living Walls staff buffed the mural.
Dustin Chambers
Dustin Chambers
"Each person can take it the way they want to, because it is for everyone ...and at the end, if it gets painted over, know that the gray paint will not hide the fears of no one, but if anything It will make those fears more visible" - Hyuro
Dustin Chambers
Executive Director Monica Campana paints the word "censorship" over the wall after buffing it, a sentiment that ultimately faded as the paint dried.

"Paint on this wall made for a beautiful mural, people talking about it made for a beautiful conversation. A public space was created and all of a sudden this dead intersection became more human. The mural belonged to all of us, to the ones that liked it and to the ones that didn't, it was our dialogue, it was our challenge, but now it's gone. Now we are back to ignoring that space again, now we are back at thinking that erasing the evidence will make us think this never happened. It hurt so much to paint over the wall, to destroy something someone else put so much heart and passion into. It was a painful process, but what hurt the most was that for the first time I felt like I had to censor myself. It was a weird feeling, a confusing and ugly feeling that I never want to experience again." - Monica Campana, Founder and Executive Director of Living Walls
Dustin Chambers
At the corner of Sawtell and McDonough, the wall appears washed-out and faded.
Dustin Chambers
The blocks of grey still clearly indicate what once was.
Dustin Chambers
Click to view full size image (Then click image to zoom)
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Martha Cooper
On August 14, 2012, Argentinean street artist Hyuro began painting a mural on Sawtell Ave. as part of the Living Walls street art conference.
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