A Brooklyn High School has moved a controversial art piece after being bombarded by complaints, the New York Post reports.
The painting was created by a student, and was originally placed in Sunset Park High School’s lobby this week. It depicts a police officer pointing a gun at a little black girl who is spraypainting “Bigger than hate” on a wall. The "B" in the word “Bigger” is written in red and obscures an N, written in black.
The student created it while participating in an after-school arts program. The piece was posted on Facebook, and the school began to receive numerous complaints.
“We got a million calls about it,” a school source told the Post. “They put it up and took it down and moved it on the same day.”
While the NYPD declined to speak on the matter, the Department of Education released a statement.
“All schools must provide a supportive and inclusive learning environment, and we encourage students to express themselves in creative ways,” said DOE spokesman Michael Aciman. “The poster was made as part of an after-school program and it has been moved.”
The poster was inspired by a similar painting from duo Madam Muse. One of the artists responded on Instagram in support of the student, and criticized the school for moving the art. She also reposted a petition created by the school’s Black Student Union.
“I’d like to say how honored I am that the students were inspired! You did amazing work and your artistry is beyond talented!!! The school then TOOK DOWN these students art in response to a staff 'outcry' that it supports racism ... DURING #BLACKHISTORYMONTH,” the artist wrote. “This kept me awake last night! I am familiar with my artwork being considered “controversial”, however I can only imagine being a young black artist and having this happen!”
I received a TON of emails regarding this piece!! A group of students recreated my “Bigger Than Hate” piece for #blacklivesmatter week at Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn, New York! FIRST, I’d like to say how honored I am that the students were inspired! You did amazing work and your artistry is beyond talented!!! The school then TOOK DOWN these students art in response to a staff “outcry” that it supports racism...DURING #BLACKHISTORYMONTH 😒! This kept me awake last night! I am familiar with my artwork being considered “controversial”, however I can only imagine being a young black artist and having this happen! SWIPE LEFT AND LETS SEE IF WE CAN CHANGE THIS PRINCIPLES MIND AND REINSTATE THIS ART! ART IS A REFLECTION OF THE TIMES!!! You all HAVE MY SUPPORT!!!!!! #NotOnMyWatch #ArtReflectsLife #SignOfTheTimes (this is not anti police....this is ANTI POLICE BRUTALITY, know and understand the difference!)
Students at the school echoed the artist's lament.
“It’s free speech, right?” a sophomore told the Post. “Just because people from wherever call in, we have to take it down? I don’t think that’s right.”
Another student agreed: “It sends a strong message. I don’t think they should have moved it. That’s how the person who made it felt.”