Victoria artists remove ACAB from mural, add new message
The acronym ACAB in the Bastion Square mural is seen in this since-deleted reddit post.
VICTORIA -- An anti-racism mural that has been in place in downtown Victoria for more than two months has had an acronym from part of the mural removed. Some found the acronym, ACAB, offensive for its meaning, “All Cops Are Bastards.”
The acronym, which was located in the letter ‘S’ of the mural, which reads, “More Justice, More Peace,” was painted over in black on Wednesday.
In its place, three eagle feathers have been painted above the letter with the following message listed underneath:
“This letter has been censored by the City of Victoria influenced by the Victoria Police Department. In doing so, Victoria is contributing to the silencing of Black and Indigenous voices and experiences across this land.”
The message was agreed upon by both the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) artists who created the mural and city staff after several discussions.
The City of Victoria, who helped sponsor the mural’s creation in August, says that the art piece will continue to be a reflection of the challenges that BIPOC community members face in Canada.
“While the mural in Bastion Square will be changing, it will remain an honest representation of the artists’ experience,” said city manager Jocelyn Jenkyns in a statement Wednesday.
“I want to acknowledge the feelings that have been expressed on all sides of this issue,” she said. “The city is committed to supporting artists and public art. The 17 BIPOC artists who created the More Justice, More Peace mural have sparked an important conversation about systemic racism and discrimination in our city and in our country.”
On Wednesday, local activist and Olympian Charity Williams posted on social media saying that the removal of ACAB from the mural and conversations that preceded it with the city were a step forward for the community.
“Today, the artist collective have come to an arrangement to alter this mural,” she wrote. “This is in no way a concession, rather a way forward. A commitment to hold those in power accountable. Because even in this process, there were lessons learned.”
“Every battle tells a story, holds a message and there is a deep one here,” she added. “I challenge you all to find that message. What does More Justice More Peace mean to you?”
In August, Victoria Police Chief Del Manak called the ACAB acronym “deeply disrespectful” and advocated for its removal.