Name: Los Angeles Community Mural Accused of Promoting Violence

Date:  1985 - 1995

Location:  North America

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion

MediumPublic art

Artist: Noni Olabisi

Confronting Bodies: Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission

Date of Action: 1994

Specific Location: Los Angeles, California

Description of Artwork: A 54-foot mural depicting the legacy of the Black Panther Party. Images contained party founder, Huey Newton, and others holding rifles as well as pictures of Panther community programs like the Sickle-cell Anemia drive and the establishment of food and clothing banks.

Description of Incident: Members of the Jefferson Park community, including building owners, local artists, and community and local organization members approved Olabisi's proposal. When the proposal reached the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission it was rejected, suggesting that the work promoted violence. The commission also claimed that the mural lacked community support. Olabisi returned to the commission with 900 signatures and a report on the community involvement in the design process, however the proposal was still rejected.

Results of Incident: The sponsors of the project, the Social and Public Art Resource Center, petitioned the ACLU, who wrote the Commission accusing them of violating "freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment." The next day the Commission approved the mural, however the Resource Center decided to rely on private funding for the project.

Source: Artisic Freedom Under Attack, 1995.

Submitted By: NCAC

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