Liverpool's Refugee Memorial Artwork Has Just Been Vandalised for a Third Time
"Whoever did this doesn't deserve to live in Liverpool."
An artwork known as The List has been on display in Liverpool’s Chinatown since July 12 — and already, it has been vandalised three times.
The work includes the names of all 34,361 refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers who have died while trying to reach Europe since 1993.
In the latest attack, someone has spray painted “invaders not refugees” across the work — in an act described by the city’s mayor as “despicable.”
“Those responsible for this defacement of a memorial to innocent dead people fleeing for their lives, have had their brains invaded by hatred,” wrote Mayor Joe Anderson on Twitter, including the hashtag #HopeNotHate. “We will not be beaten by fascist thugs and we will pay for another memorial. I want volunteers to help me protect it.”
Those responsible for this defacement of a memorial to innocent dead people fleeing for their lives, have had their brains invaded by hatred. We will not be beaten by facist thugs and we will pay for another memorial. I want volunteers to help me protect it. #hopenothate💜 pic.twitter.com/DVA3Snt1bB— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) September 7, 2018
Anderson has also pledged to replace the work.
The most recent vandalism has prompted an outpouring of shock on Twitter, with many Liverpudlians emphasising that whoever did it doesn’t speak for their city.
The work by Turkish artist Banu Cennetoğlu is displayed on a temporary wall outside a building site on Great George Street, with the permission of site owners, as part of the Liverpool Biennial.
Bad enough that The List (an installation documenting more than 30,000 people known to have died fleeing war and oppression) has been removed twice by parties unknown, this was heartbreaking to see.— Name Our Pub? (@NameOurPub) September 7, 2018
This is a tiny minority of our city. We're better than this, we are Liverpool. pic.twitter.com/ovA2B7Va7z
This- 2018. We have a problem of hatred that is becoming far more vocal and open.— TellMAMAUK (@TellMamaUK) September 8, 2018
‘Invaders' daubed on Liverpool List refugee memorial - BBC News https://t.co/WMRD23ytP9
“It is timely and important to make The List public during a global refugee crisis,” said the Liverpool Biennial in a statement in July, when the artwork was first put on display.
The names that appear on The List are compiled and updated every year by United for Intercultural Action — a network of more than 560 organisations in 48 countries, working against discrimination.
The artwork also vanished one weekend in July, prompting concern about how or when it had been removed, and whether it was a deliberate act or a mistake. It was then replaced, before being torn down again just days later, in August.
Cennetoğlu said at the time the torn artwork would be left as a reminder of “this systemic violence exercised against people.”
This saddens me beyond belief.— Scot Williams (@scotwilliams) September 9, 2018
Whoever did this doesn’t deserve to live in Liverpool. A great welcoming city that has always been an open gateway for another World. https://t.co/1pTw3wDo9X
Very sad & upset that a memorial commemorating refugees who lost their lives has been smeared with the word 'invaders'. I know, we're in Brexit Britain now. But I'd never expected this to happen in Liverpool! https://t.co/WuJumHp26B— Dr Steffi Doebler (@stefdoebler) September 8, 2018
Heartbreaking not representative of the people of Liverpool but a minority of racist, spineless people have defaced a memorial dedicated to refugees who have died. Alan Kurdi, 3year old child! who drowned, 2 Sept 2015 was among the names! He was not an INVADER! A victim of war— T.Alghrani (@MrsAlghrani) September 9, 2018
She said in a joint statement with Liverpool Biennial — the UK’s largest festival of contemporary visual art — that the work had been “repeatedly damaged, removed, and targeted since it was installed” on July 12.
According to the statement, The List hasn’t been attacked in anywhere else it has been installed — including Berlin, Istanbul, Basel, and Athens.
Cennetoğlu has been recreating The List, as it grows ever longer, since she first came across it in 2002. She’s had it published on posters, in newspapers, and on billboards, and across numerous countries.