he city of Vancouver has ordered the removal of a mural hanging outside a Downtown Eastside gallery depicting the Olympic rings as four sad faces and one smiley face.
The gallery says in 10 years, it has never before been asked to remove any work.
The city issued the order under its graffiti bylaw, but it comes in the wake of a debate over a controversial city sign bylaw that opponents feared would allow officials to stifle anti-Olympic expression.
“It was pretty clear to me that it was because of the context of the work,” says Colleen Heslin, who runs the Crying Room, a small studio focusing on emerging artists.
Ms. Heslin points out that over the years she has hung about 30 murals there, and has never had any trouble. She has also used that space as a giant chalkboard, allowing passersby to write or draw whatever they wanted (which included swear words) and was never asked to remove that either.