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Clarion Alley murals vandalized with pro-Trump imagery

Most of the damage was reversed quickly, but alley organizers say political attacks on alley’s art are on the rise

A painting of a Japanese man in a robe holding a sword, with a red cap with the the letters MAGA crudely added.
In case it’s not obvious, that hat is not part of the original work.
Photo by Adam L Brinklow

Over the weekend, unidentified vandals defaced several murals in the Mission District’s Clarion Alley with crudely drawn “Make America Great Again” caps and slogans, although volunteer artists reversed most of the politically motivated vandalism fairly quickly.

The San Francisco Examiner first reported the unwanted additions Saturday, citing a message on an Instagram account called Clarion Alley official:

Fascist vandals destroyed countless murals adding horribly rendered MAGA hats (made in China) and messages of their tiny tangerine tyrant’s xenophobic misogynist hatespeech.

They didn’t have the talent, decency or dedication to simply paint their own mural expressing their small-minded uninformed hateful opinions, they had to express themselves by destroying the beauty created by marginalized minorities & low income volunteer community muralists.

[Update: Note that the Clarion Alley archive page itself links to a different Instagram account as the official one.]

Crude hats marked “MAGA” appeared on figures in a mural depicting a demonstration with protest signs like “Families Belong Together” and “Abolish I.C.E.” that nodded to recent Trump administration immigration policies.

Another MAGA hat popped up on a portrait of the popular Japanese character Zatoichi.

Another work, demanding “justice for Sahleem Tindle”—a man shot and killed by BART police in Oakland earlier this year—was altered to read “Justice For Kavanaugh” instead.

Other photos posted to Facebook revealed the letters MAGA simply scrawled across a few murals.

The Clarion Alley Facebook page notes that this is the third incident of politically motivated vandalism aimed at alley murals in as many weeks.

More hats disappeared as quickly as they’d appeared, though at significant expense.
Adam L Brinklow

Local artists have filled Clarion with original works since 1993. Political themes, particularly those protesting racial discrimination, racially motivated violence, and immigration policy have always been common, but the degree of topical content on the walls has become even more pronounced in recent years.

And so, too, with the vandalism, it seems.

By Sunday evening most of the alterations had been undone, with only the Zatoichi hat still visible.

Anyone who wants to support restoration efforts—both those related to this incident and also the regular and ongoing maintenance that keeps the alleyway’s dozens of images fit for display—can contribute to the Clarion Alley GoFundMe page, which covers the cost of paint for volunteer artists.

[Udpate: The Clarion Alley Facebook page is cautioning people against the GoFundMe, claiming that it does not actually represent their interests. The page provides this fundraising link instead.]