Derry’s Bogside Artists have expressed their dismay that a new mural in Maribor, Slovenia, which was unveiled by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, was taken down just one day after its completion.
The trio spent several weeks in Maribor, Europe’s Cultural Capital for 2012, creating the mural of a Tibetan Monk in prayer amid chaos. On May 17, the Dalai Lama officially unveiled the mural alongside several Nobel Laureates, Roberta Menchú Tum, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Prof. Dr. Lucka Kajfež Bogataj and the Mayor of Maribor, Franc Kangler.
But just the next day - authorities took the artwork down.
Tom Kelly of the Bogside Artists told the ‘Journal’: “We can’t find out why they took it down, nobody would give us a straight answer. It is unfortunate. We were invited to do a job and we carried out that job, but sadly we then discovered just days before we finished the mural that they were going to take it down. It’s very disappointing.”
The artists were commissioned by a group called Art of Reconciliation. ”The theme of the mural is the death of innocence. It is a direct and concrete link to the Annette McGavigan mural back in Derry. It now belongs to the Art of Reconciliation group and so maybe they’ll try and get a buyer or find another home for it.”
“At the end of the day, we just wanted to paint the mural,” Tom adds. “We were delighted to get the invitation to Slovenia and we were delighted to go along. We always decide on what to paint, and we wanted to make a statement about China and we did.
“We are still happy that the mural was so well received and appreciated by the Dalai Lama. That was a big honour for us and for Derry.”
Fellow artist Kevin Hasson recalls the moment they met His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.
“When we met him, we told him we were from Derry, and the Dalai Lama said - “Derry? I love Derry! And, by the way, Richard Moore is my hero”. That was just brilliant to hear him saying that.”