An abandoned Atlanta building was ravaged by a fire about six months ago, but a mural featuring the image of Colin Kaepernick on one of its walls survived.
Then the Super Bowl came to town. And the mural was demolished. Fabian Williams, the artist who painted the mural, thinks it’s not a coincidence.
“I figured at some point they would tear the building down, but it has been sitting up this whole time,” Williams told the Atlanta Journal Constituation. “The fact that the Super Bowl happens here and the weekend when the festivities are gearing up, the building gets demolished is very odd.”
Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, became a polarizing figure in 2016 when he refused to stand during the national anthem before games as a protest against social injustice.
It was around that time that Williams painted his mural of Kaepernick in an Atlanta Falcons uniform — “I thought Atlanta, because of our civil rights history, would be a perfect place for him” — standing next to Muhammad Ali on the building on the corner of Fair Street and Joseph E. Lowery Blvd.
But this week, he saw his creation being demolished.
“I just happened to be driving by when they were doing it and it took a minute for me to mentally recognize that it was happening,” Williams said. “Symbols matter man. You destroyed the whole building it was on? If I were an interpreter of performance art, what message would you take from that?”
Williams took to Instagram on Saturday to announce his intention to paint seven (Kaepernick’s jersey number) murals of Kaepernick around town on Super Bowl Sunday, inviting other artists to take part and asking for local businesses to donate wall space.