A group advocating for the re-opening of the Little Mountain Housing complex claims B.C. Housing sent a graffiti-removal contractor to censor artworks created in protest at the social housing units’ closure.
The artworks in question were made as part of a December 7 “art-in” that drew professional artists such as Tiko Kerr, as well as former and current residents of the social housing complex, to protest the provincial government’s plans to demolish the 224 low-income family apartments within the next six months.
“About 50 to 55 pieces of art were created then [at the 'art-in'], and most of them had to dry,” Barry Growe, a member of Community Advocates for Little Mountain Housing (CALM), told the Straight in a phone call.
“There were a few that were actually painted on the plywood that they put over all the windows, but most dried for several days, and then on Friday [December 11] we put them up. On Saturday [December 12], we found a fellow from a company named Goodbye Graffiti painting over some of them with brown paint. We talked to him and he had a number of sheets of paper with photographs of exactly what he was to paint out.”
Growe said the man confirmed he was working on behalf of B.C. Housing, and was painting over slogans such as “Love still lives here”, “Embrace Community Diversity”, and “Against Marginalization”.
Patricia Lusic, a communications manager at B.C. Housing, said she was not able to source a spokesperson to discuss the issue by the Straight's deadline. She emailed a non-attributable written statement, but the Straight's policy is to only quote sources interviewed directly.
Images of the artworks that CALM says were covered up can be seen here.