The corner of 24th and Bryant in the Mission has long been synonymous with murals that address social and racial injustice, but Fusion reports today that the corner’s latest mural, depicting LGBT “cholos,” has been defaced.
Entitled “Por Vida,” the mural is a triptych that features two men embracing, a transman with mastectomy scars, and two women gazing into each other’s eyes. According to Fusion, the mural was unveiled on Saturday and by Tuesday had been defaced with red and blue spray paint.
In addition, the artist, Manuel Paul, has been threatened online.
“For years chicana activist [sic] bitched that lowrider culture sexualized women but for some reason it's ok to sexualized [sic] some cholos sucking dicks and we call it art,” one commenter wrote, with “lowrider” referring to the Mexican-American subculture that venerates custom cars.
“That's what happens when you invite out of towners to help you write your neighborhood story,” the commenter added.
Charges of gentrification touch almost every new development in the Mission, and art is no exception. “This only helps advance gentrification due to glamorizing of the cholo lifestyle,” another commenter wrote. Fusion reports that one user urged the gallery to “keep that shit in the Castro.”
Not all of the feedback has been negative. One commenter deemed the mural “fucking beautiful,” while others responded with “awesome” and “love this.”
Ani Rivera, director of the Galeria de la Raza, told Fusion, “We’re committed to this vision and we’re going to fix it as many times as we need to because it’s the voices that need to be heard and we’re not going to stop.”
Update: Galeria de la Raza sent a press release to SF Weekly requesting volunteers for a community watch over the mural, as well as volunteers to support the mural restoration on June 18. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.