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August 9, 2012

Your Turn: That “Terrorist Mural” in Boston


With hate crime and the topic of Islam and fear-mongering rising up in the news cycle again, I’m not sure if you’ve seen this. I’m interested in how you read the mural as a whole, and in its elements. The caption reads:

People walk past a wall mural painted by Brazilian graffiti artists Os Gemeos in Boston August 8, 2012. The work has created a stir after viewers posted comments on a local TV channel’s Facebook page, claiming it looked “like a terrorist” and urging for it to be removed, according to news reports.

I’m sure seeing it from different angles — especially from ground level — makes a difference.

You’d of thought it would have brought some of these images to mind. I’m not sure, though, if people in Boston who are afraid are see any gender in the image, or if that matters.

(photo: Reuters)

  • Enoch Root

    Terrorists normally wear PJs, so it all makes sense.

  • Scott Brauer

    The grass in that area is right where Occupy Boston was located.

  • Guest

    Doesn’t everything look like a terrorist to Americans?

  • namvetted68

    The mural shows a sense of fashion which is foreign to most. 

    Therefore, it must be destroyed.

  • WICKET99

    I see a woman in a box.  She’s trapped; forced to wear her own prison.

  • psychohistorian

    There is a certain pained look in the eyes of the woman that makes the mural exude a sense of negativity.

  • Boxcar

    Wow, Bag. Thanks for sharing this. It is beautiful. And anyone who sees the image as representing a terrorist must be an American. 

  • Theresa

     Very good pic :)

  • BooksAlive

    Yahoo travel writes about the Revere Hotel: “The Revere arrives in Boston as a premiere independent, luxury hotel and
    entertainment destination. Inspired by Boston’s revolutionary
    spirit, the property pays reverence to the city’s rich history and
    storied past while embracing a modern edge and reveling in the
    non-traditional.” Who knew?

    The curved structure on the roof is perfect for the head.

    In the DayLife series, there are two little figures painted on a gray wall. A self-portrait of the artists? Wonder if it’s still on the building?

  • Owen W.

    I still don’t like it.  I never thought of it as depicting a terrorist, but I did assume the figure was male.  I saw it as it was being painted, and my immediate conclusion was that Boston wanted to cover up the wall that Occupy Boston had used as a community message board / billboard / broadcast mechanism.  The whitewashing of the space being complete by putting up a mural that no one would dare try to paint over.  The fact that this is state-approved graffiti only reinforces that perception.

  • Notfullyformed

    Yeeeessss, ummmm, terrorist. Seriously? Where? How? This is stunning artwork. The sickness is in the American Psyche. We are sick society. From all angles. Every viewpoint. So sad.

  • Thomas Gokey

    On first glance I read the image as depicting a man. Seems to be wearing comfortable PJs. It looks like he has a shirt wrapped around his face. Doesn’t that look like a sleeve hanging in front of his chest?

    The patterns are pretty amazing from a purely visual standpoint. It’s interesting to learn that it’s right near Occupy Boston. Is there any chance that the veiled face (and the PJs which suggest sleeping/camping) is an homage to protesters? Of course there is a desire for the state to equate protesting with terrorism.

    I’m just trying to read the image cold without investigating to much into the sites relationship to the occupation or the artists intentions. I’d be curious to learn more about it since it seems like the site and imagery are contested and the image is not 100% clear. Of course, just having an image that is not 100% clear can sometimes frustrate the public who are more used to seeing advertisements and propaganda in public images.

  • Cheshire Cat

    Yeah, and American kids normally wear keffiyehs. 

    Great mural for Boston, the city with the dubious distinction of having launched the 9/11 attacks. 

    And its great that several of you came to leave hate comments about America without having any original thought or remarking on the significance of the piece or its relationship to the urban environment in which its located. 

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then its a boy in pajamas.  Only in Boston.

  • Mark

    The mural looks like a Simpson’s version of a terrorist.

  • Rockinpablo

    I have to be honest, it looked like a Muslim character to me at first glance, and I thought it was sort of ill-fitting to the area. I have since learned of what it really depicts, but I still don’t like it. It has no significance to Boston, and quite frankly, yes, I think alot of Americans driving quickly by might go “why the heck is there a Muslim charcter painted on that building”. 9/11 has made us sensative/fearful of a certain culture, fair or unfair, it’s the way it is. Also, my artist and mural friends wondered why a Boston artist wasn’t chosen for this project. Seems like a fair gripe. I love art, I really do, but this just seems out of place for where it is, even if it is just a kid in pajamas. I would have loved to see a cool mural depicting Boston’s history or something like that, and if you want whimsy, there are I’m sure a million other things they could have put there.

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