Mural for murdered transgender women of colour gets new home at McNabb Community Centre
'At the end of the day, though there was some negativity, the positivity heavily outweighed it,' artist says
Nearly three months after it was defaced with threatening graffiti, a mural to honour murdered transgender women of colour has been painted again and installed at a community centre in Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood.
The original mural was made in September during Ottawa's Pride week, on the corner of Bank and Somerset streets, by a group including artist Kalkidan Assefa.
At night on Sept. 23, someone spray-painted over much of the mural and wrote "RACIST BULLS--T" "ALL COLORS MATTER" (sic) and "ALL LIVES/NO DOUBLE STANDARD/YOU'VE BEEN WARNED."
It wasn't the first time work by Assefa was defaced. In July, a mural of Sandra Bland that Assefa painted with another artist was also defaced and had to be repaired several times.
But Assefa said that while the defacements were hard to deal with, good did come of it.
"It's not easy, but it's not just disappointment that I ended up feeling because a lot of people did get behind the murals," he told CBC Radio Ottawa Morning host Robyn Bresnahan on Friday morning.
"And at the end of the day, though there was some negativity, the positivity heavily outweighed it — in terms of the community ownership of the artwork and how people cared and wanted to make it happen, wanted to have it repainted and wanted to support it and keep an eye on it."
Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney's office provided the materials for the new mural and worked to secure a permanent location for it at the McNabb Community Centre in Centretown.
Thrilled to see <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackLivesMatter?src=hash">#BlackLivesMatter</a> mural repainted & installed permanently at McNabb Community Centre. <a href="https://twitter.com/drippin_soul">@drippin_soul</a> <a href="https://t.co/joyVtEoWZe">pic.twitter.com/joyVtEoWZe</a>—@cmckenney
"I'm just really excited and really grateful," Assefa said. "I worked on it inside on panels because it's just easier at this time of the year. And then it got hung up pretty high up, so that hopefully nobody else will damage it.
"It's great. I'm really happy. I'm happy that the community likes it and that everybody's happy that it's back."