Image: Reinstalled mural trial / Taken by Janice Aitken



5 October: An exhibition titled a BREAdTH apart created by Scottish artist Sekai Machache, was destroyed by unknown individuals allegedly because of the exhibition’s message treating about racism in Dundee, Scotland, reported The Courier.


The exhibition depicts 16 portraits of Black people who are wearing colourful facemasks. The portraits presented as a part of the Scottish Black Lives Matter Mural Trail aims to highlight the issue of systemic racism in Scotland and how the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affects the black community.


Sekai Machache explained to Freemuse the background of the exhibition saying that “there are some core elements of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is obviously what the mural trial is relating to. Also, it’s to do with the coronavirus pandemic and how vulnerable Black people are to, not just contracting, but also to whether they’re going to survive.”



Image: Mural of Rhea Lewis / Courtesy of Sekai Machache, masks designed in collaboration with artist Fiona Catherine Powell



The vandalism is assumed to be racially motivated as in an interview with Freemuse Sekai Machache said that she wasn’t surprised with the vandalism and that although in Dundee there has been a positive reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, “there were some racist people who just didn’t feel comfortable.”


“I feel as if what happened was almost interestingly like a call and response. Call and response is a really important traditional practice within many African diasporic cultures, where one person calls something, and another person is responding. It’s usually, a central player, in a choir or in a storytelling environment, that will say something, and then the crowd will respond back,” the artist explained.


“It’s interesting how this has all transpired. We’re putting up our statement, then the racists do their little thing, and then someone else comes back and responds, it becomes this call and response. They in a way [the vandals] become part of the work. That’s what’s interesting,” Machache further adds.



Image: Mural of Graham Campbell / Courtesy of Sekai Machache, masks designed in collaboration with artist Fiona Catherine Powell



Dundee City Council members are condemning the act of vandalism. The artist said in a follow-up message to the interview that Dundee City Council has contacted the exhibition’s curators and showed their support for the art.