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The Parmelee Post: Burlington Mural Continues to Cover Up White Crimes


Published December 18, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.

A recent change made to the Burlington mural - FILE: MATTHEW ROY
  • File: Matthew Roy
  • A recent change made to the Burlington mural
Recent changes made to a controversial mural have completely failed to address the underlying source of controversy, according to Burlington art critics.

Responding to complaints that the "Everyone Loves a Parade!" mural in downtown Burlington was “white supremacist,” city officials decided to incorporate a mixed-media element into the piece by hanging up some tarp.

“The rectangular tarp seems to be a simultaneous nod to Picasso’s development of cubism as well as his preceding blue period,” opined art historian and critic Patricia Brushels. “A waterproof gesture that hangs upon the city wall like Picasso’s influence hangs upon the century of artists that followed him. I give it 7.2 out of 10 starry nights.”

But the tarp wasn’t the only change made to the mural.

Attempted restoration of the 'Ecce Homo' fresco by Cecilia Giménez
  • Attempted restoration of the 'Ecce Homo' fresco by Cecilia Giménez
Shortly before the city incorporated its plastic Picasso motif, an uncommissioned white artist allegedly added some of his own work to the mural. Witnesses say his contribution seemed to channel Spanish artist Cecilia Giménez, who rose to fame for her attempt to restore the "Ecce Homo" fresco of Jesus.

“I think the alleged Burlington artist was trying to incorporate some of Giménez's face-melting technique,” said part-time art critic and full-time art supply supplier Dustin Dunkleforth.

He added that after Giménez distorted the face of Christ beyond recognition, her hometown of Borja, Spain, saw a huge surge in tourism.  "This Burlington artist was clearly just doing his part to help attract new visitors to the Queen City," Dunkleforth continued, "and it’s the city’s loss that they chose to cover it up with tarp art.”

Other critics argue that, with the work of the uncommissioned artist covered by a tarp, the mural continues to turn a blind eye to the offenses of white men.

“First this mural whitewashed the atrocities committed by colonizers against indigenous populations, and now it’s covering up the crimes of an unsanctioned white street artist,” said local artist Samuel de Spanksy. “I think the city should remove the tarp. At least then the mural would depict the criminal behavior of one white man, no matter how insignificant his infraction was in comparison.”

Prosecutors say it’s highly unlikely that the city will remove from the mural its own artistic contribution, or that the unsanctioned artist will face any charges himself.

“Because the graffiti suspect is a white male, he’s facing an entirely different justice system than the one that nonwhite citizens are forced to navigate,” said Chittenden County prosecutor Cathy Cuffem. “Instead of substantial fines and jail time, the suspect can simply attend a ‘Whoops, my bad!’ program that will provide him with free coffee and a clean record.”

“Hell, in the white male version of the legal system, you can even straight-up skip a court date and still receive no charges,” Cuffem added. “If it wasn’t a white supremacist mural already, it certainly is now."

The Parmelee Post is an occasional series featuring tough investigative reporting on news that hasn't happened.