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Hearing scheduled for pro-Palestinian mural

Art depicting Palestinian civilians clashing with Israeli forces on an east side Santa Fe adobe wall

SANTA FE – The city of Santa Fe has granted an east side homeowner a stay of enforcement action regarding pro-Palestinian murals that were installed earlier this month on a stucco wall outside his house.

Guthrie Miller, a retired Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist, appealed a ruling by city government that he had to remove the photo-like posters because their material and colors do not conform to historic district standards.

In a letter dated Jan. 28, Lisa Gavioli Roach, an historic preservation division manager in the city’s Land Use Department, informed Guthrie that a hearing will be set for his appeal about the murals, which appeared outside his house on Jan. 5.

Lilia Chacon, a spokeswoman for the city, said in an email that because the appeal’s basis is in First Amendment issues, the city feels a hearing is necessary “for due process.”

“Please bear in mind that the City’s basis for issuing a violation was based on materials and colors used in the mural, not on the content,” she wrote.

A multi-part mural by indigenous activist and artist Remy, from Arizona, will be the subject of the hearing.

In her letter, Roach told Guthrie that the city was aware of a new banner that had gone up on his wall and reminded him that any new “mural art, banner or signage is subject to review and permitting and/or enforcement action, if necessary, by the Land Use Department.”

The new banner has been removed, according to correspondence sent by Guthrie to the city.

Miller was originally approached five years ago by a group called Santa Feans for Justice in Palestine and agreed to have his walls plastered with pro-Palestinian posters. The work went up on July 12, 2015, but was taken down within a day.

This time, Miller said he was not approached beforehand. “I woke on Sunday, Jan. 5, and the art was there,” Guthrie said. However, he said was not opposed to having his wall be the venue for artwork showing Palestinian women and children being confronted by Israeli soldiers.

Much of the original multipanel mural has been destroyed, but it originally juxtaposed an image of a Native American woman being arrested during a protest against the now-defunct Entrada. Guthrie said Remy and other indigenous activists see parallels in the treatment of Native Americans and Palestinians.