Mission District Gallery's Queer Cholo Mural Defaced Again

The second printing of Manuel Paul's mural "Por Vida" after it was defaced. The first version had been vandalized and was replaced last Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Galeria de la Raza.)

 

For the third time in less than a week, a San Francisco art gallery's mural that mixes Lowrider or "cholo" culture with LGBTQ themes has been vandalized.

The Mission District's Galeria de la Raza announced on its Facebook page Sunday that Manuel Paul's giant digital mural Por Vida had been defaced with black spray paint some time overnight. The mural, which is printed on heavy paper, had been replaced on Thursday after it was vandalized in a similar fashion, on two separate occasions, just a few days before.

The Manuel Paul mural at Galeria de La Raza honoring LGBTQ's place in Chicano culture was defaced again (Photo by Cy Musiker)
The Manuel Paul mural at Galeria de La Raza honoring LGBTQ's place in Chicano culture was defaced again (Photo by Cy Musiker) (Cy Musiker)

Por Vida shows a gay couple, a lesbian couple and a transsexual man, all dressed like cholos, with the two couples embracing. The piece was a part of the gallery's new exhibit The Q-Sides, which is described on its website as challenging "long-held assumptions regarding the traditional exclusivity of heterosexuality in lowrider culture."

"The defacement and re-defacement of the current digital mural by Manuel Paul of Maricón Collective has only proven the credibility of its purpose," a statement on Galeria de la Raza's Facebook page said. "Galeria de la Raza believes in the importance of continued dialogue about LGBTQ visibility, awareness, and acceptance in the Mission District and within the greater Latino communities."

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Around the first time the mural was vandalized, Paul and other Q-Sides artists had reportedly received homophobic comments and even threats of bodily harm through social media.

The gallery also set up surveillance cameras after the first defacement and they have video of the second act of vandalism, which is being turned over to the police, according to Mission Local.

Funds to repair the damaged mural are being raised with the help of Network For Good. As of Sunday evening, it was unclear whether or not the mural would have to be replaced again.

The gallery, established in 1970, has had murals defaced before these incidents. A 2012 digital mural by artist Spencer Keeton Cunningham was vandalized and had to be restored by the artist. Back in 2000, Alma Lopez's "Heaven," which shows two women embracing, was also vandalized.

Update, 1 pm:

Ani Rivera, Galeria de la Raza's owner, emailed KQED Monday to confirm that there is video of two vandals defacing the mural around midnight on Sunday. The video will not be released to the media as it will first need to be reviewed by the San Francisco Police Department for their investigation.

Details on when the mural's replacement will be released by the end of Monday, according to Rivera, though she is concerned that it will be vandalized again. The mural is scheduled to stay up until July 31 and Rivera is organizing a group to watch over it until it comes down.