San Diego illustrator accused of degrading SF Chinatown murals; the artist calls it a hate crime


A vandal struck at least twice in San Francisco’s Chinatown in Kerouac Alley, damaging a series of murals.

The muralist calls it a hate crime and is now working to restore the art.

The work pays homage to Asian ancestry and Asian icons like Bruce Lee. Over the past few weeks, someone has come several times to doodle on the work. The vandal was filmed.

Muralist MaCanna Yo said months ago these walls were an eyesore, but she and another muralist saw an opportunity to create art.

They started working in February, but twice, once in April and again in May, someone scribbled on the artwork, part of anti-Asian vandalism in nature.

“There has been a hate crime incident on the mural of Cai Shen, the god of wealth and prosperity and many of these zodiac warriors have been degraded as well as the restoration of the Bruce Lee mural” , Yo said.

Yo says nearby security cameras caught the vandal in the act. “The person was recognized by an artist from So Cal who knows his handwriting. They also signed their work,” Yo said. “So in the first incident in April, he tagged Cai Shen’s face, but he signed it with his name. He’s not a tagger, but an illustrator from San Diego.”

This information has been passed on to the San Francisco Police Department, but the damage has already been done.

Thus, the muralist launched a gofundme page, in the hope of raising $ 1,300 to repair and protect the work. In just 24 hours, donors pledged more than double that amount.

“We are really grateful for all the donations that started coming in overnight, which allows me to purchase the anti-graffiti coating to seal these murals once restored,” Yo said.

Hoi Leung of the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco says public art celebrating Chinese culture is an important addition to the neighborhood and deserves to be protected.

“Especially now with so much anti-Asian hatred and also a different stigma around Chinatown, it is more important than ever to support art and culture in order to reclaim our stories and reclaim our stories,” says Leung.

The gofundme account to restore and protect the artwork in this alley, which was originally intended to raise $ 1,300, is now north of $ 4,030. The artist tells KTVU that the money will be used to restore and protect the alley murals, and that the excess funds will be used to create more public art in Chinatown.

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