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NEWS: Artist told to change $6K 'saina' mural into governor's image



By Johnnie Rosario


(Tumon, Guam) The acting director of the Guam Public Library System at the last minute told the artist commissioned to paint a mural depicting an elderly lady reading to children to make the old woman look like Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, and to paint Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio into the painting.


Adelup's director of policy, Carlo Branch, previously told the public that the mural depicting the island's leaders, who are seeking reelection in 2022, is not a campaign sign.


According to the Guam Election Code, it is illegal for public officials to use government resources to advance the political purpose of candidates for election. In this case, the library's director - Arlene Santos - used government time and resources to solicit private donations to pay for the artwork on a public building.


According to a member of its board, it wasn't the artist who chose to depict the governor and lieutenant governor. That direction was given by Ms. Santos, who is a political appointee of the governor.


The approximately $6,000 in costs were paid using donations Ms. Santos solicited from Lucy Alcorn of Global Food Services and Guam Music Inc, both of which have been involved in the gambling industry.


The building on which the mural is painted is a public facility, owned and paid for by the taxpayers of Guam.

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So now Art becomes propaganda, or something other than the artist's vision. This is just appalling. This happens often in communist countries, but it's not supposed to happen in "the land of the free." But it's not the first time. Renowned Mexican artist Diego Rivera was order to change his mural in Rockefeller Center (around 1933) and he refused. So the Rockefellers "erased" Rivera's picture and put in something they found less offensive.


Ms. Santos should be slapped in the face, and hard.


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