Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – A Santa Fe homeowner said he will appeal a ruling by city government that he must remove pro-Palestinian art from the stucco walls surrounding his east side home on Camino Lejo.
The photo-like posters, introduced by the words “End military aid to Israel,” can
be seen from Old Pecos Trail near San Mateo Road.
On Tuesday, the city sent Guthrie Miller a letter informing him that he has 10 days to remove the multipart mural because its material and colors do not conform to historic district standards.
In a statement, city spokeswoman Lilia Chacon confirmed that Miller, a retired Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist, has the right to appeal.
In an interview, Miller said he was originally approached about five years ago by a group called Santa Feans for Justice in Palestine about having his wall plastered with pro-Palestinian posters and that he agreed. The posters put up on July 12, 2015, lasted about one day, Miller said, and were reportedly torn down by a “well-dressed man.”
This time was different, he said. No one asked his permission to put up the art, which he said was the work of indigenous activist and artist Remy, from Arizona. “I woke on Sunday, Jan. 5, and the art was there,” Miller said. But he said he is not opposed to Remy’s message that Palestinian women and children are being victimized by Israeli soldiers.
The mural has provoked debate on Facebook’s Santa Fe Bulletin Board, where reactions range from “What (expletive), anyone who would support this has very little insight to the history of the region” to “So sad, so true … so powerful!”
Rabbi Berel Levertov of Santa Fe Jewish Center Chabad took issue with calling
the art “pro-Palestinian.” In a statement, he said, “Let’s not call it ‘Pro Palestinian’ when it really is just anti Israel, and it does nothing to help the Palestinians who are suffering under their terrorist leaders.”
Much of the latest installation has been destroyed since it went up. But Miller said it originally included the juxtaposition of an image of a Native American woman being arrested by Santa Fe police during a 2017 demonstration against the now-defunct Entrada with a picture of a Palestinian woman being confronted by an Israeli soldier with a gun.
The Entrada, part of the Fiesta de Santa Fe for decades before it was halted in 2017 after three years of Native protests, commemorated the reoccupation of Santa Fe by the Spanish 12 years after the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. Miller said Remy and activists in Red Nation, a Native group based in Albuquerque, are “aligned with the Palestinian cause.”
Levertov said, “For the Native American artist to equate the Israeli Jews (with) the white Europeans who conquered America and persecuted the indigenous people is simply a complete twist of the basic fact that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel for at least 3,500 years.”
Miller said he plans to go through with the appeal to bring more attention to human rights violations against Palestinians. “I think it will be an interesting process,” he said.
The city’s notice to Miller said that stuccoed exterior walls in the Historic Review District “must be brown, tan, or local earth tones” and that the rules “do not provide for the application of artwork on paper with starch-paste glue.”