A sprawling mural that referred to President Donald Trump’s mouth as a “shithole” has been painted over by a Denver government crew, with the permission of the property owner, according to city staff.
The anonymous artist known as Belove had been working for months on the wall, which stands just off the A Line near 40th and Colorado. Before this week, it was marked with the words “I can’t breathe,” and a portrait of the muralist’s son.
With Martin Luther King Jr. day approaching, though, he decided to paint over his own work with a message aimed directly at Trump: the word “shithole” in huge block letters, plus an arrow pointing to the mouth of a depiction of Trump.
Belove hoped to make it impossible for people to ignore what the artist sees as a pattern of support of white supremacy in American society, especially in the words of the president.
“Thus far it appears the national dominant narrative remains one of general amnesia with some quasi-hopeful people stating that ‘conversation is how we work our way out of ‘the race problem,'” the artist said in a written statement.
“Which is a start to be sure, but taking it further we need to feel every day the urgency that we feel when certain statements are made such as ‘shithole countries.’ But the nation’s tendency is to sweep the issue back under the rug (or paint over it) as soon as possible which only causes
The mural, of course, is a reference to Trump’s alleged use of the word “shithole” to denigrate countries in Africa as well as Haiti.
But the president’s exact wording, Belove said, is less important because Trump has already shown a pattern of “white supremacist” behavior, from his positions on immigration to to his reported comments about a Korean-American woman.
The artist says that he had permission to paint the wall, but he declined to give further information about the arrangement. “It was a legal and sanctioned piece done with permission,” he said.
A city crew removed the graffiti after police spoke to the “business owner, who said it was unwanted graffiti,” according to Nancy Kuhn, spokeswoman for Denver Public Works.
The owner could not immediately be reached for comment.