Around 11 last night, local artist/activist Pablo Machioli's anti-Confederate sculpture of a black woman with a pregnant belly was vandalized, spray-painted with the n-word and the womb punched in, while it was being housed in a public walkway in the Copycat, according to artist Hoesy Corona's Instagram post.*
The sculpture was installed as a protest to the Lee-Jackson monument in Wyman Park Dell last Thursday evening until the following Friday afternoon, when the Recreation and Parks Department removed it.
Members of La Bodega Gallery, where Machioli is a resident artist, say they got security camera footage from Copycat staff, and they said it appears that a resident of the building is responsible. According to La Bodega's Facebook post about it, the perpetrator is "about 5'6"-5'9" possibly blonde, possibly female, slight build."
According to Owen Silverman Andrews, an activist who was involved in the installation, the sculpture was brought back to the Copycat on Monday afternoon, and taken back inside the building on Wednesday.
"Someone would have had to enter through the front door, which was locked," said Silverman Andrews.*
While the statue was installed over at Wyman Park Dell, people were encouraged to interact with it and write their responses to it. Most of the responses were positive, Silverman Andrews said, adding that it's "important to emphasize that this sculptural intervention was peaceful and positive, but sometimes doing peaceful and positive things brings out a lot of ugliness in response."
Corona, who lives in the Copycat and was the first to post an image of the defaced statue on social media, said that he's "never seen an artwork evoke this type of white supremacist brutality in an individual," and that whoever did it "was so full of hatred" to go out of their way to do this.
"As a longtime resident artist of color in the Copycat," he said, "I do not condone this kind of blatant racism in the building where I live and work."
*An earlier version of this post contained a quote from Silverman Andrews which stated that the statue was inside La Bodega's gallery space, but a member of the gallery corrected this; it was actually placed in an empty public space in the building.