East Harlem Mural Sparks Controversy in Local Election

New York City Council candidate Gwen Goodwin claims incumbent Melissa Mark-Viverito tried to send her a message with a mural on her building.

By Von Diaz Sep 09, 2013

The battle for the next Mayor of New York has dominated the conversation ahead Tuesday’s Primary Election in New York City. Between Anthony Weiner’s sexting and arguing with voters, and Bill de Blasio’s son Dante’s impressive Afro, smaller elections aren’t getting much attention. 

But in East Harlem, a recent mural project has sparked controversy among two City Council candidates. Candidate Gwen Goodwin claims that incumbent Melissa Mark-Viverito conspired against her campaign by coordinating a mural on her building. According to the New York Daily News, she told supporters : 

"This a picture of a bird who’s head has been severed from its body," she wrote in a mass email to supporters. "I have been told in the Puerto Rican culture it means ‘problem solved.’"

Goodwin claimed the painting has connections to Santeria, a mix of ancient African rituals with voodoo and some Catholicism. 

The mural is part Los Muros Hablan, a project coordinated by La Respuesta in partnership with El Museo del Barrio, which was supported by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito.

(h/t New York Daily News)