Artists support South Etobicoke woman whose garage-door mural was called ‘tasteless’ and ‘ghetto’ with a neighbourhood art campaign

A group of Toronto artists is offering to paint free murals on garage and front doors of homes in south Etobicoke after a family in the community recently received hate mail for commissioning one on theirs.

The team of professional artists, led by Bareket Kezwer, Julii McMillan and Natalie Very B. Bochenska — who designed and painted the original mural — describe their initiative as a “street-level demonstration of love.”

They’re calling it the “Neighbourhood Love” campaign.

“We are volunteering our professional skills to visibly express the positive, diverse and inclusive spirit of the South Etobicoke Community,” they wrote on social media, adding they came up with the idea after being “moved by the online outpouring of support for the South Etobicoke family.”

“It is our hope that by coming together in a public act of love we can support a sense of empowerment and connection for everyone living in the area.”

In late August, Sapna Shah, who lives near Royal York Road and The Queensway, hired Bochenska to design and paint a mural on the garage door of the townhome she shares with her husband and two young children.

Her family then received two anonymous letters, one of which was addressed to “GHETTO GARAGE DOOR” and charged that the artwork “made the entire neighbourhood look like a low-income ghetto.”

The author of this typed letter, which Shah received on Sept. 8, went on to say she had “devalued all of the homes in this area with that…

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