When Gentrification Looks Like A Crochet Mural

When Gentrification Looks Like A Crochet Mural

Su* is a Salvadoran immigrant living a quiet life in Bushwick who was shocked to find her home violated with a crochet mural by local artist, London Kaye. “I wanted to do something different, and stretch myself,” said London Kaye to Bushwick Daily in an article titled Gigantic Crocheted Mural by London Kaye Appeared at Bushwick Flea. The article does not mention the mural “appeared” on the right side of Su’s house that faces the Bushwick Flea parking lot.

Su is not mentioned in the article. Kaye says she was unaware the Bushwick Flea manager did not ask permission. “My art is not about making people upset or making a statement,” she said in a phone interview.
Su’s nephew, Will Giron, vented his frustrations with what he considers to be yet another example of how gentrification dismisses people of color. “Gentrification has gotten to the point where every time I see a group of young white millennials in the hood my heart starts racing and a sense of anxiety starts falling over me,” he wrote on Facebook

According to Giron, the Bushwick Flea manager also insisted the mural raised the property value of Su’s home and threatened to inform police that Su and her sister sell Salvadoran food in her yard. It wowed me that no one thought to reach out to Su about the mural, which further lends itself to Giron’s statements about gentrification and the erasure of people of color.

Su migrated from the United States to El Salvador about 46 years ago and has been in her Bushwick home for 25 to 35 years. “The reason we came here [is] because we want a better future here.” She is very family-oriented and tries to travel back to El Salvador to visit relatives at least once a year. Soon, she and her brother will decide what color to paint her home. Su is a person, a citizen, a proud Hispanic woman. “The thing that bother me is, when they do something to your property, they are supposed to ask you no matter what,” said Su. “It’s not the [mural]. It’s the fact that they used the wall without permission. That’s it… I am a person who likes to live at peace.”

And peace returned. “After the reaction, I e-mailed Will to apologize for how it all went down and he wanted it down so I’m going to absolutely respect that and take it down,” said Kaye before she returned to remove it.

The Bushwick Flea released this apology on Facebook:

Shoppers coming to the market this weekend will notice a blank wall where London Kaye’s awesome 15 foot high crochet mural used to be. It was on the side wall of the market space, but unfortunately that wall belongs to the adjacent building, and the owner’s have told us to take it down. It’s been a cause of controvery [misspelled in original quote] lately because we never asked permission to put it up. That was a mistake and we have apologized for not asking first.

However, what does taking the piece down accomplish? Many, many visitors to the market have enjoyed the piece. Many, many people have posed for pictures in front of it. It was a source of enjoyment, but someone made it a source of controversy and divisiveness, and now it will be gone.

Taking down the crochet mural accomplished at least one thing: Su and her brother can start the painting project they planned. “Some time in October maybe,” said Su.

But really, whenever she gets good and ready.

*"Su' is a pseudonym as she requested her real name not be published. All other names are real.

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