Toronto neighbourhood upset after popular mural ordered painted over
A Toronto artist is devastated after learning that her mural will soon be no more, thanks to the property managers of downtown neighbourhood CityPlace.
Muralist Avril Wu is trying to rally support behind her artwork on the wall of the restaurant The Morning After, which, despite not even being completely finished yet, is getting ready to be painted over after owners of Concord Adex deemed the mural too "vibrant" for the neighbourhood.
Hi allll! So, as many of you may know I’ve been working on this mural for the restaurant called @themorningafterto (at 88 fort York blvd). Unfortunately, the property managers are wanting to take it down due to the vibrancy and the excessive shock value that the mural provides. Concord (property managers) want to paint it back to black (boring and corporate, which does not match the vibe of the restaurant). Working on this project has been such a positive experience for me and everyone involved, especially the community at CityPlace, up until this point. People have said that it “brings them joy”, “makes them smile before they head to work”, “adds colour and life to the neighbourhood”. It’s also a great photo op!!! 📸 If you would like to help me in keeping this mural alive please do the following: 1. Like, comment or share this post on your stories 2. Tag your mama, your grandmama and your friends 3. Tag @blogto 4. Go to 88 fort York blvd. TODAY, snap a photo and grab a bit to eat!! Appreciate you all ❤️ I think it’s being taken down today!!!!
The ten-foot-high wall—a playful mural that depicts a handful of real and mythical creatures being sucked into a black hole—was commissioned by Morning After's owner Jojo Kopty before the restaurant's opening last month.
Wu had already been working on the mural for three weeks when Kopty was approached last week by property managers.
"They were being super, super negative about it," says Kopty. "They said it was inappropriate."
Kopty was told she had to replace the mural, which CityPlace owners described as "drunk animals", with black paint. It was supposed to be painted over last Friday but the date has been pushed.
Kopty has also sought out legal representation after CityPlace owners told her that she would have to foot the $500 fee for the black paint job.
"That's ridiculous," she says. "I already paid a large sum of money to put the wall up. I'm trying to flourish this community, make it a better area."
My super talented friend Avril (avrlwu on IG) recently put a ton of work on this mural for The Morning After in #Toronto! The corporate property managers want to paint this masterpiece back to black so let’s help Avril keep her art alive! @blogTO #art #mural @MURALfestival pic.twitter.com/x53GSlw2Fc— Sean Denroche (@SKDenroche) June 7, 2019
Meanwhile, Wu has been forced to put the remainder of the project on pause, and has since taken to her Instagram and the CityPlace neighbourhood Facebook group to drum up support for the mural.
"We need to support local artists and keep this mural!!!!!" wrote one user on her Instagram post.
"This is a masterpiece!! You’d be doing the city an injustice by removing this mural. It's part of Toronto!" wrote another.
But, despite scores of supporting comments from locals, the plea to keep the artwork has fallen on deaf ears.
"It's pretty hurtful to see it go down," she says.
Prior to the mural, the wall was plain black , and covered in "crusty rust."
The new design was meant to add some interactive elements to the area, and incorporated some suggestions (like a cake, to add some colour to the corner) from locals who passed by Wu while she was painting.
"For me, the artist, I've interacted with the people in the community since I've spent weeks working on this mural," says Wu.
"They're not really hearing the voices of the people that are living in that space. I don't even think they care to hear what they have to say, or want."
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