Artist: Noni Olabisi
Confronting Bodies: Los Angeles Cultural Affiars Commission, Los Angeles Police Protective League
Date of Action: 1995
Specific Location: Los Angeles, California
Description of Artwork: The mural proposed a visual depiction of the history of the Black Panthers. From images of the organizations founding, members holding rifles, Panther-created community programs, the mural sought to reflect the diversity of the groups activism and viewpoints throughout their history.
Description of Incident: The mural was a part of the Resource Center's multi-cultural public art effort to commission local artists to create area neighborhood art. Olabisi was selected by the Resource Center to make the mural, and submitted his proposal to the L.A. Cultural Affairs Commission. The Commission rejected the proposal on grounds that it may promote violence in the neighborhood and lacked neighborhood support. The commission continued to reject the proposal despite a petition signed by 900 area residents. After the ACLU admonished the commission that rejection of the proposal infringed upon the first amendment rights of the Resource Center, approval was granted by the commission.
Results of Incident: Because of the controversy public funding was withdrawn from the project by the Resource Center. However, the mural was created nonetheless with the aid of private funding.
Source: NCAC: based on a report by "Artistic Freedom Under Attack" Vol. 3, 1995 provided by the People for the American Way.
Submitted By: Peter Silverman