New Mural in Southwest Atlanta Destroyed by Ignorant Community Forces, ‘Leaders’….


“ When people see a snake, they think a serpent.

When they think serpent, they see Satan”

….former State Rep. Douglas Dean, Atlanta

“Oh, my dear garden snakes,
Run and hide in the leaf litter!
You appear each spring as if birthed from that old stump,
Your beautiful duns and browns and moss greens
Intermingling with last year’s fallen leaves.

I remember wearing you as divine jewelry
Around my slender wrists as a child.
You terrified the adults
but transformed me into Cleopatra.

I remember a box under my bed
Disturbed by a dust mop,
And a dozen of you slithered out
Felt the 200 year old wooden floors,
Cold on your bellies.
The handler of the dust mop screamed
And I never could find you all.
Did you disappear out that window
Where you would have dropped 30 feet to the ground?

I mourned for those missing
And learned adults didn’t have the tolerance
Of children for the miracles of nature.

Later I remember eating blackberries from
A stand of rambling bushes,
Warmed by the July sun
Of the North Carolina mountains
And below me a cotton mouth doing the same.

I backed up out of fear and respect,
But the blackberries were good
And enough for both to share.

I remember the black racers
That hung in the pine trees
And we, daring each other
To run under them,
Hoping one of us would get squeezed
In your embracing coils
But it never happened.
You knew our game.

In other cultures you snakes
Symbolized the umbilical cord
Joining all humans to Mother Earth.

In ancient Crete
You were the guardians
Of the Goddess’ great mysteries
Of birth and regeneration.

The Hopi Indians
Joined the snake of the Sky Spirit
With the snake of the Earth
And dancing with them in great reverence,
Loosened them into the fields
Where the golden corn was growing
To bless and secure their fertility.

No garden hoe will touch you,
My dear little garden snakes,
No stoning of your innocence,
I will gather your twine-ing bodies
And lift you above the ignorance of bigotry.

They violate their God’s dictates
“Even to the lesser of you amongst us”
And you, without limbs or voice are surely that.

If not beloved by God, surely you will be beloved by me.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2012

People have asked from all over for pix of the defaced mural. These I took this morning, and they only give an inkling of the scope of this vandalized mural. These political and church morons even defaced Pierre Roti’s statement in the front of the mural. It was in French, and they probably didn’t take the time to translate it.

It is news when an international artist, in this case, Pierre Roti, comes to Atlanta and does a marvelous piece of public art. Roti is from France, and has recently received a coveted award from Cornell University. He has done numerous murals, and is only 24. In my opinion, Roti is one of the best muralists in the world. To see the detail and precision of this street artist is mind blowing.

Many will try, to lift their argument, will claim that it is a white vs. black issue: it is not. A neighbor of mine who is black, went to the mural while Roti was painting it and talked to him a long time. He didn’t understand it all, but he loved the effort. I agree. It IS baffling, this mural, but why should the message be so simple? Can’t we ponder and explore at depth what Roti was saying? What the message was? Of course, these leader-idiots painted over the “Artist Statement” (In French) and then no one can even read Roti’s statement. This is akin to book burning in my view. Just stupid behavior by a leadership who don’t resepct the masses of residents but use them for their own gain. Of course, there are racial elements in this whole shebang, but that can’t be helped. ‘Whites taking over with this mural”, “Outsiders putting their shit on “our” walls”, etc. Well, this is just cultural backwardness…and also racial backwardness.

I was surprised that this mural was placed there: thought there would be a backlash from some people living there, and there was. But it’s deeper than that. It’s political opportunism used by the usual suspects. I think this will stop public art for a while, and perhaps it should. Artists shouldn’t have to worry about their art being destroyed. Perhaps a better and more lasting place could be found for this piece….but damn…that wall just cried out for something. And I don’t believe for one moment that “we had already planned a mural”. That just doesn’t wash for me and some others…..

It was painted over today by the combined stupidity of two council women and some community ‘leaders’. One is a former state senator who is about as corrupt as they come. What real difference has Douglas Dean made in Pittsburgh? They claimed it was satanic. Of course, some preachers and church members were involved in this vandalism. And that was what it was, and they did this without any consultation of the surrounding supporters of this mural. And with no permit to paint over the mural.

“They” didn’t have to have a permit, and they said so.

Maybe these ‘leaders’ are too ignorant to recognize the symbolism of anti-capitalism, civil rights and progression in this mural they dared to deface. But others, black and white, and not necessarily artists, saw the excitement and pondered the message of this mural.

Atlanta claims it is an International City. It is nothing but a cultural bog. To just paint over this mural by an acclaimed artist is nothing but cultural terrorism. So be it….we have lost something precious, and the usual forces of ignorance have won this round. But there will be others.

This University Avenue, where the mural was painted on a long concrete wall, (permitted, too) is full of prostitutes and drug dealers. That these people are not offensive to these officials is funny. That a mural that makes people THINK and was so well received ins some quarters (again, not necessarily artists, either)is offensive to these morons.
Seems this community perfers gang grafitti over art.

Lady Nyo

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11 Responses to “New Mural in Southwest Atlanta Destroyed by Ignorant Community Forces, ‘Leaders’….”

  1. Richard Cody Says:

    Small minds, small minds… I need to see the mural in question now. Any links?


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Richard….small minds, indeed. It is sickening what happened here. These people…..said “the fish and the scales (of the fish?) were satanic.”

    Good God! This is what Atlanta is breeding as citizens. Ignorance and arrogance. The charge was led by Douglas Dean who is a former State Rep…who was arrested with coke in his wallet. He’s not a spring chicken, either. And he’s about as corrupt as they come. Always gets a piece of the till for himself in all dealings. It’s a shame that these people are in charge of anything…but so it goes with Atlanta

    There is a site:

    try that. I will try to get a photo tomorrow and post it in the entry. I don’t know how much of this remarkable mural (originally) will should up now because of the paint job these bastards did, but it is stupendous. Full of symbolism, anti-capitalism, etc….apparently these same people who defaced this mural don’t mind at all the whores and drug dealers who parade on University Avenue there, but take offense at art. But it’s really a political issue apparently. This was done by a white man, and these fools are afraid of gentrification. They prefer the gang graffiti to a piece of art that would propel them to think.

    Thanks, Richard for reading and being curious enough about this issue. To me, it’s cultural terrorism on the heads of these morons.



  3. Ogre Magi Says:

    I am soooo sick of christians and all their crap!


  4. ladynyo Says:

    I understand, Ogre….when you get any religion, Muslim, Jew or Christian, sometimes, many times…you get dogmatists. People who can’t think for themselves, or evaluate the actual situation.

    Sometimes these ‘christians’ are apologists for a lot of bad and backward behavior. I remember years ago when my son brought a bird’s nest to an after school program in a church building, it was thrown out before him and with great relish. The ‘teacher’ , a church deacon said that this nest would harbor disease and infect anyone who touched it. My son, who was very young (7 or so at the time) came home crestfallen. I went to talk to this man, and he was quite the moron…on evironmental issues, etc.

    Needless to say, I took my very young and impressionable son out of this ignorant setting.

    A few months ago, back behind a church on Dill Ave. here in SW Atlanta, I was feeding some stray kittens. (I have been doing so for almost three years and have brought home as many as I have been able to catch, and have fixed them, and either adopted them out to friends, or kept them) A church woman came out and asked me what I was doing, I told her and she tried to gas (smoke) us out, kittens and I, by gunning her nasty, emissions blaring car in my face. Some Christian she was.

    I have found many “christians’ around here totally ignorant on ecological and other issues…Ignorant preachers breed ignorant parishioners. Some people are sheep and can’t think for themselves.

    Any religion has their jackasses, morons and ignorant people. It’s not just the Christians. But this bunch around SW Atlanta has a particular backwardness about them. Cultural and other ignorance. I’ve been a resident for 43 years and have seen more cruelty than I can remember or stomach.

    Perhaps the actions of Douglas Dean and his friends in destroying the mural is set in the ignorance of this particular community. Closed off minds, not willing to investigate anything new and unknown? And perhaps a fear of people of a different culture?

    Whatever has happened here with the mural is just the tip of the iceberg of intolerance and serious mistakes on both sides. To me, perhaps an insensitivity on one side and rank ignorance and arrogance on the other? And that Dean and company got away with their vandalism is most disturbing. Lawlessness tolerated in the name of what? No way to settle a comflict at all.

    People who hide behind God….and continue to do nasty, inhumane things…are the worst of humanity.

    lady Nyo


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  10. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you. It was and is a hard topic to tread. I think now that Living Walls should have considered the venue better. But an expanse of that wall is tempting.

    The so-called meeting that these local politicians promised to resolve the conflict of course never happened. They are still thugs in my estimation, and are supported by rank ignorance….But! We knew that, and things haven’t changed over the 40 years I have been in Atlanta.

    It’s just the way things are here in Atlanta….and it won’t change any time soon. They can have that damn wall….and there was no projected murals planned by Shepard, and company. That was pure bull.

    So, let the gangs decorate that wall. It’s just too much to keep fighting over. People will find better things to do with their art. And their time and energy.

    Lady Nyo


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