Racist Nazi graffiti daubed over mural honouring Welsh Caribbean community
A Welsh art group has said it will not be intimidated after racist Nazi graffiti was painted over a mural honouring Port Talbot’s Caribbean community.
On Friday, 28 October, swastikas, the phrase “Nazi Zone,” and an offensive racial slur were painted over the mural, part of the ‘Street Art Trail,’ previously created by the ARTWalk group.
Sinisterly, the numbers 1488 – a code used by neo-nazis and white supremacists – was also painted on the mural.
Following the racist graffiti being daubed on the artwork, local resident Jalisa Phoenix-Roberts posted on social media: “It’s taken me a little while to post this as I chose to ignore it. I’m being brutally honest here when I say this has triggered severe anxiety this evening.
“Utterly heartbroken to feel as though I’m looking over my shoulder and have a feeling of being unsafe in my hometown for Friday and my family.
“Can’t stop my heart beating out of my chest with sheer worry and upset. I’m not blind and know this happens so often, but it doesn’t make it okay or any easier.”
Members of the ARTWalk group held an emergency meeting and immediately got to work and restored the original mural.
ARTWalk group member, Derek Davies, said the group would not be intimidated: “We at ARTwalk Port Talbot will not be intimidated by people whose thoughtless intentions are to try and undermine the good work that groups, like ourselves, have done in bringing local communities together.
“ARTwalk will continue to strive together as one community regardless of colour or creed, to create beautiful murals that show the true real loving side of Port Talbot and its residents.”
Fellow group member Bev Simmonds-Owen said: “We were deliberately not posting about it publicly because we were trying not to give the scumbags who did it any publicity or recognition for their awful behaviour.
“But Jalisa Phoenix-Roberts, asked us to share a post which spoke about her feelings as a person of colour about the issue and asking anyone with any information about who the vandals were to come forward.
“And we felt that we didn’t want to silence her voice on this matter or stand in the way of the perpetrators being caught.
“We, at ARTwalk Port Talbot were first informed about the incident at 8.32 on Friday morning.
“Within half an hour, the whole team had been informed and an emergency meeting had been set up and by 9.30 we had organised for a team to visit the site (after work because all our community led group are volunteers) and see what the best course of action was moving forward.
“Later that day, I was contacted by the local councillor for the area and the police and council became involved, painting over it temporarily, until our team could get there.
“At 6pm our crack team of experts immediately set to work cleaning off the police temporary paint and working to restore the artwork as best they could.”
Bev added: “I have to say …. I am not afraid to publicly admit, that I was so upset that I cried when I saw the horrible graffiti and that the levels of horror, anger, disappointment in the community and a huge amount of other emotions were palpable in the ARTwalk Port Talbot meeting on Friday morning.
“But I am proud of the way our little team of volunteers rushed to action to sort the situation out and how quietly and calmly the mess was sorted out; ARTwalk-1 – Racist Scumbags-0.”
South Wales Police have said they are investigating the incident.
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