Photo by Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times
Korean activists called for removing this mural from the RFK Community Schools complex, saying the sun rays remind them of the Japanese imperial battle flag. Artist Beau Stanton denies any connection. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Times reports:
If the Los Angeles school district moves forward with plans to paint over a controversial mural at a Koreatown campus, artist Shepard Fairey said he will insist on the removal of his large outdoor portrait of Robert F. Kennedy at the school named after him.
In support of artist Beau Stanton, Fairey told The Times that he would call for the removal of his mural of Kennedy at the RFK Schools campus on Wilshire Boulevard. Kennedy was murdered at the site of the then-Ambassador Hotel in 1968.
What disturbs the Korean activists, however, are the sun rays emanating from Gardner’s face. The Japanese battle flag has 32 bands of uniform proportions, in alternating red and white around a centered red disk representing the sun. Stanton’s mural has 44 varying bands of blue and reddish-orange, surrounding a much larger and different central image. Sun rays are a common art and design motif.
“Yeah, these things happened and they’re part of a terrible history, but this mural has nothing to do with that,” Fairey said Saturday. “What he has in his mural is nothing close to the battle flag. It’s not the same color scheme. It’s not the same focal element. It’s stupid to me. I thought that cooler heads would prevail because this is absurd.”
Kudos to Shepard Fairey for his insistence that just because something is similar to something offensive, it isn’t enough to be destroyed. The mural doesn’t have swastikas, it has a motif that somewhat resembles an oppressive fascist government’s flag.
By the way, the Stars and Stripes are in a lot of paintings, and America exists due in no small part to genocide of humans who already lived in the New World.
Note, click the LA Times article to see the photo. I couldn’t walk over and take my own, unfortunately.