Living Walls mural that some community members called ‘demonic’ to be painted over before Christmas

Promised ‘community meeting’ over mural never takes place


  • Dustin Chambers
  • French artist Pierre Roti’s mural along University Avenue sparked intense debate in surrounding communities

Get a peek at what’s left of French artist Pierre Roti’s mural along University Avenue in southwest Atlanta while you can. The Georgia Department of Transportation says the controversial Living Walls mural near the Pittsburgh neighborhood will be painted over as early as next week.

The 240-foot mural, which depicts a grandiose fantasy scene of an urban machine producing a man with a crocodile head, was painted earlier this summer during Living Walls Concepts, the year-round version of the annual summer street art conference hosted by the nonprofit public art organization of the same name.

But on Nov. 9, a small group of Pittsburgh residents haphazardly painted over the piece, which some members of the predominantly African-American community said featured “demonic imagery.” An intense debate erupted over what role the community should play in deciding public art and City Hall’s policies regarding murals on private property.

In a Nov. 21 email to GDOT, city attorney Robin Shahar advised the state agency that Living Walls did not follow the proper procedure for approving a mural on private property. However, she added that the decision on what to do with the mural was GDOT’s to make.

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