Vernon’s mural artist is calling vandalism to one of the city’s mural a “hate crime.”
Someone used a felt pen to add a Hitler-like mustache and a swastika on a First Nations woman in the Okanagan Indian Band mural on the side of AJ’s Pets and Things on 33rd Street.
Artist Michelle Loughery calls it concerning.
“It honestly is shocking. I know there is tagging and vandalism and stuff happens, but the way that was done, I think it’s a hate crime and it’s quite unsettling,” Loughery tells Kiss FM.
Loughery says there was also a tear added under another woman’s eye in the mural, which was painted 15 years ago.
“The tear on the woman, that tells me that somebody has a cry for help and needs help. You know, people have anger in them and they lash out.”
The vandalism was signed by Cody Balls.
Loughery says that name has appeared on other local vandalism/graffiti.
She while it’s a hate crime, there is a silver lining as the the incident has got people talking.
“I don’t know who it us, but Cody Balls, way to go for the conversation that everyone is having. Thank you because now we can talk about that this stuff does exist, and the murals keep us having conversations to keep us going together, so you can turn it around that it’s a gift, and a good thing,” adds Loughery.
Loughery says she and co-artist Sheldon Louis will have the mural cleaned-up by this weekend, once the felt pen is scrubbed off.
“It was a very important mural considering Sheldon was a young man at the time. We will go fix it up, whatever is needed, once they get the ink off. If you don’t take the ink off, the ink keeps coming through the paint.”