'We are disappointed' - protesters gather as Repeal the Eight mural painted over
Artists and campaigners protested over the removal of an eye catching Repeal the Eighth mural on the side of Dublin’s Project Arts Centre today.
The heart shaped red and white mural was designed by street artist Maser and decorated the wall of the arts centre since April 9.
Last week, the Charities Regulator informed artistic director Cian O’Brien that as a registered charity Project were obliged to remove the mural as it constitute “political activity” and was in breach of the Charities Act 2009.
It is the second time a mural by Maser has had to be painted over on this site – in 2016 a similar mural was removed as it didn’t adhere to Temple bar planning codes.
O’Brien painted over the mural as crowds chanted “You can paint over a mural but you can’t paint over an issue”.
“We are feeling disappointed,” O’Brien said. “Because the Project has a 52 year history of presenting works like this. We present work that encourages debate, that engages in political and social issues through art.”
O’Brien and the brains behind the mural – Andrea Horan of the HunReal Issues - pointed out that in true Streisand effect the covering up of the art had resulted in more conversation about it.
“I feel ragin’ but also delighted that a light is being shone on issues like this,” Horan explained.
O’Brien added that “through its absence this artwork lives on as they take this heart into their heart”.
Among the crowd was Sinead Wright (31) from Dublin who said she found it upsetting to watch the mural being painted over.
“It is sad,” she said. “The arts should represent the political climate we live in.”
Kitty Maguire expressed surprise that graphic posters regarding the referendum were allowed to be posted in prominent places but the artwork had to be removed.
“This is just a love heart,” she said.
In a statement, The Charities Regulator they found that “by publicly displaying a political advertisement related to the Eighth Amendment referendum on the charity’s premises using a planning exemption reserved for political advertising, are engaging in political activity that is not directly related to the advancement of the charity’s charitable purpose, which is the advancement of education.”
Meanwhile, Cora Sherlock of the LoveBoth pro-life campaign said the artwork would have been balanced if their had been a pro-life mural of the same scale on the adjoining wall.
“Despite our repeated requests for equal access to space in the Project Arts Centre we have received no access,” she said.
Project confirmed they received a request for access and they had invited LoveBoth to submit a proposal but had not received one.