The Charlotte “Black Lives Matter mural was damaged by tire marks all over the mural Friday night, but the damages were repaired on Sunday. Artist Kiana Mui carefully worked to repair her letter — the “E” in LIVES — on Sunday afternoon. The black and white work was inspired by anime.
The cartoon panels depict a conversation between a person whose response to “Black Lives Matter” is “All Lives Matter,” and a second person explaining “how insensitive it is with such a big movement when we’re just fighting for basic human rights,” she said. Mui said she wanted her work to speak for itself, but said she wasn’t surprised someone would want to deface the mural.
“If it agitated them, that’s the kind of people we need to inform and educate,” she said. But, she said, she was glad to see the strong turnout as it was repaired. “It won’t be ruined,” she said of the mural. “It’s definitely going to be here and part of history for Charlotte.”
Seventeen Charlotte-based artists created the mural, in partnership with the city of Charlotte, Charlotte Is Creative, Brand the Moth, and BLKMRKTCLT, The Observer has previously reported. A spokeswoman with the city said Sunday the repaired mural will be sealed with clear coat paint.
The tire tread marks covered most if not all of the length of the mural. Matthew Clayburn covered his letter “A” with an even coat of white paint, a blank canvas to recreate “E.G.O,” the character he has been drawing since the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, was fatally shot in Florida by a vigilante neighborhood watchman as he walked home in a hooded sweatshirt. Since then, Clayburn said, he’s identified with the hoodie imagery and incorporated it into his art.
“He’s a proponent for self-awareness, emotional awareness,” he said of his character. “I think it’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about, being sensitive and feeling things.” Clayburn said the damage adds another layer to the story, as does the effort to repair it, calling the community response to repair the mural and the public attendance “surreal.” “It’s like a new birth,” he said of the decision to start fresh on his letter. “Hopefully it’s a new birth for the city.