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Grenfell Tower survivors outraged after mural for fire victims 'painted over'

Local artist who lost friends in blaze says community is 'angry' 

Chloe Farand
Thursday 31 August 2017 01:37 BST
The "Justice" mural for the victims of the Grenfell fire disaster has now been painted over with white paint
The "Justice" mural for the victims of the Grenfell fire disaster has now been painted over with white paint (Miguel De Amorim-Gil)

Residents living near the Grenfell Tower have been angered after a "justice" mural for victims of the blaze was whitewashed.

The graffiti mural on Labrodke Grove featured the word "Justice" and the names of the victims killed in the fire that engulfed the high rise in June.

But on Wednesday morning, local artist Miguel de Amorim-Gil, 38, who works under the name of Flexwon and made the street art, found his work had been covered with a layer of white paint.

Speaking to The Independent, he said: "Someone came sneakily in the early hours of the morning after the Notting Hill carnival. They left all the other graffiti in the area and they made a point to take this one down."

The mural was painted on the side of a privately owned building, opposite a school attended by children from families affected by the fire.

Mr de Amorim-Gil, who has lived in the area all his life and lost many friends in the disaster, said the wall had always been a memorial site with graffiti and tributes being paid to members of the community long before the Grenfell blaze.

Residents initially blamed Kensington and Chelsea council for removing the mural but the council said the painting had been removed by the building's owner.

Mr de Amorim-Gil claimed the owner in turn denied having painted over the mural and said no-one wanted to take responsibility for having removed his tribute to the Grenfell victims.

The artist blamed the gentrification of the area and the loss of a strong unifying sentiment between all members of the community for the removal of the mural.

But he said many members of the community had been supportive of his work.

"This is very personal for me. It's not just like any other piece I would have done. There is a lot of anger out there, a lot of people are feeling very angry about it," he said.

On the side of the mural, Mr de Amorim-Gil said children had made red hand prints. He also painted in red the names of top members of the council and their wages.

He claimed a representative from the council had seen the mural before it was repainted and said the council wanted to preserve it in memory of the Grenfell victims.

Locals have called for the Grenfell "justice" mural to be preserved and a memorial site to be created.

A spokesperson for the council said it was working with local artists to create permanent murals for Grenfell in the community.

They added that the council was working with the school and the building owner to have something the community would like to see at that location.

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