Controversial fresco will not be removed, say LGBTQI+ organisation, RainbowHouse

Controversial fresco will not be removed, say LGBTQI+ organisation, RainbowHouse
König's controversial fresco. Credit: DreamHouse.

After criticism from the LGBTQI+ community, RainbowHouse is choosing not to remove or alter a controversial fresco on Rue de la Chaufferette, but instead, add an educational plaque underneath it.

Following accusations of racism and transphobia, the LGBTQI+ organisation RainbowHouse have made an alteration to their controversial fresco on Rue de la Chaufferette, Brussels (1000).

RainbowHouse will now “add an educational plaque to explain the criticisms expressed and their legitimacy within the LGBTQI+ community”, according to a press release from the organisation last Thursday.

Furthermore, the organisation will not remove the added graffiti over the fresco which reads “Transphobia!” and “Racism!”.

“Each work of art is in interaction with its time and audience. For this work, people from the LGBTQI+ community, trans and people of colour interacted with this work by criticising it”, said RainbowHouse.

The criticism surrounding the fresco largely centred around two characters: a black woman, and a drag queen, both of which have incited accusations of racism and transphobia respectively.

RainbowHouse summarised these criticisms in an open letter to the artist behind the fresco, Ralph König.

“As far as the image of the black woman is concerned, what was used to portray her stems from racist and colonialist imagery that essentially reduces black people to that one common trait: having thick lips”, stated RainbowHouse.

Regarding the drag queen, the organisation explained to König that the problems lie in, “the way in which she is presented as the only unhappy one in a group of happy and proud queers. She emerges as the only person with a depressed attitude, with arms hanging down and an empty gaze”.

Expressing his sadness at such accusations, König replied “I am especially irritated because racism and transphobia deny EVERYTHING I stand for!”

“People say that I am tough when it comes to sexuality, but that I have always treated my characters lovingly. Of course with stereotypes, they are comics, caricatures,” said König.

However, despite demands from the LGBTQI+ community for the fresco to be either stripped of its problematic characters, or removed entirely, RainbowHouse has selected another alternative.

“In view of the artist’s response, we therefore opt to keep the fresco as it is with the inscriptions [Transphobia and Racism] and a pedagogical slab”, RainbowHouse concluded.

Madeleine Fletcher

The Brussels Times

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