Artist: Racism behind Damage to Piece on Hate Crimes

May 12, 2010

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A piece of student artwork at the School of the Art Institute Chicago may have been the target of a hate crime.

Ironically, the piece by Anida Yeou Ali is about hate crimes against Muslims. She took excerpts from FBI files on hate crimes against people perceived to be Arab or Muslim. She mounted them in white vinyl letters against a white wall. Then she stained part of the wall with ink to highlight parts of the text.

But whoever did the damage stained other parts of the wall in a way that she thinks was racially motivated:

ALI: There were three large caricature figures drawn on the wall which the installation occupies, and then there was a word bubble coming out of the caricature around where the text reads "kill all Arabs."

An attorney with the Council on American Islamic Relations wants the FBI to get involved. The Art Institute is investigating what happened, and has offered to compensate Ali for the damages to the piece.