Art Exposing Hate Crimes Against Muslims Defaced

An art exhibit intended to call attention to hate crimes may have been the target of one. A Muslim student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago says her artwork, on display in a student gallery, was defaced.

The graduate student returned after a five-day hiatus to find her hate-crime themed art installation defaced with the words “Kill all Arabs” on Tuesday.

Police said the vandalism happened sometime between May 6 and 11, according to News Affairs Officer Anne Dwyer.

The student told police she had painted a wall installation as part of an art project on May 6 and returned to class Tuesday to find a portion of the work painted over.

The exhibit addressed racial profiling and the rise of violence and hate directed at Muslims in the post-9/11 era, according to a release from Chicago’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The installation features a wall filled with lines from actual hate crimes against people perceived as Muslim or Arab.

Student artist Anida Ali says someone drew caricatures using bowls of ink that were part of the exhibit.

“This one has a word bubble around where the text reads, ‘Kill all Arabs’, which is a quotation,” said Ali.

Ali was working on the exhibit as part of a longer ongoing series of work, the “1700% Project,” a collaborative effort that uses art as a form of response to hate crimes.

No other art exhibits in the school’s Sullivan Galleries were vandalized. There are no security cameras in the gallery, the release said.

“This is not just an assault on me as an artist, this is an attack on multiple communites to which the work speaks for,” Ali said.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago says it does not condone vandalism under any circumstances and that campus security is investigating the incident.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez and the Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.