LA artist ‘MEAR ONE’ anti-banking mural allegedly labeled as Nazi Anti-Semitic propaganda by London Councillor.

Banking protest mural resembling Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda to be removed from East End

By Hannah Roberts
PUBLISHED: 13:26 EST, 5 October 2012 | UPDATED: 13:33 EST, 5 October 2012

  • East London’s Tower Hamlets council says it has received numerous complaints about the mural
  • Councillor Peter Golds said it is ‘horribly similar to the propaganda used by the Third Reich in Nazi Germany’
  • He has urged the police to pursue artist Mear One – real name Kalen Ockerman – under race hate laws
  • Mear One denies his mural is anti-Semitic
  • The piece is also being defended by resident Azmel Hussain, who owns the property

A mural depicting money-grabbing bankers will be removed following complaints that it resembles the anti-Semitic propaganda of Nazi Germany.

The provocative painting has appeared on a wall in the predominantly Muslim area of Brick Lane in East London, once a thriving Jewish community.

The mural, by international graffiti artist Mear One, shows moustachioed and hooked-nosed bankers huddled around a Monopoly board supported on the backs of the working class, seemingly drawing on long outdated Jewish stereotypes.

Azmel Hussain, pictured, is defending the artwork which has been painted on his property. He described the wall as showing world leaders playing monopoly on a table held up by tax payers

Now the artist has been accused of anti-Semitism, a claim he vehemently denies.

But with its continued presence causing public tolerance to fray, council bosses have set a deadline for its removal.

Mear One – real name Kalen Ockerman – completed the painting last month in an area steeped in Jewish history.

Orthodox immigrants fleeing persecution in Tsarist Russia first settled in Brick Lane in the 1880s  and the area remained a proud Jewish neighbourhood until the 1960s.    

Local councillor and long-term resident Peter Golds has urged the police to pursue the inflammatory artist under race hate laws.

He said: ‘When I saw the mural I was shocked. It’s horribly similar to the propaganda used by the Third Reich in Nazi Germany.

‘The money hoarding and hooked-nosed men is classic Nazi.

‘It’s seriously worrying in an area that is so culturally sensitive – Brick Lane was home to the Jewish community and now home to another immigrant group.

He added: ‘It’s intensely racist and has caused a great deal of offence.

‘These horrible stereotypes are not just unpleasant and divisive, they are dangerous as they feed prejudice.’

Lutfur Rahman, the Tower Hamlets mayor, confirmed he had received ‘large numbers’ of negative comments about the mural.

He said: ‘I have received a number of complaints that the mural has anti-Semitic images. I share these concerns. Whether intentional or otherwise, the images of the bankers perpetuate anti-Semitic propaganda about conspiratorial Jewish domination of financial and political institutions.

‘Where freedom of expression runs the risk of inciting racial hatred then it is right that such expression should be curtailed. I have asked my officers to do everything possible to see to it that this mural is removed.’

The Revd. Preb. Alan Green, Area Dean of Tower Hamlets and Rector of St John on Bethnal Green, who serves as Chair of the No Place For Hate Forum, said: “Whilst I appreciate street art in Tower Hamlets, it must always respect the principles of our diverse community. This mural uses images that have for centuries been used to incite hatred and persecution against Jewish communities. There is no place for such incitement against any community in this borough”.

But Mr Ockerman claims his mural has been misunderstood and, while it is supposed to provoke critical thought and debate, is not supposed to be anti-Semitic.

He said: ‘A group of conservatives do not like my mural and are playing a race card with me.’

continued…

Mear One – INFOWARS Full Interview:

Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar spoke with Mear One on November 23, 2011 about his art, politics, and Black Friday show:

BIO: MEAR ONE (Kalen Ockerman, b. 1971, Santa Cruz, CA) is a contemporary American artist based in Los Angeles.

MEAR ONE began his career in 1986 as a graffiti artist living in Los Angeles. MEAR ONE has been labeled as “The Michelangelo of Graffiti” and “The Salvador Dali of Hip-Hop.” He is considered by many to be Los Angeles’ most prolific graffiti artist because of the way he revolutionized graffiti with his fine-art realism, breaking out of traditional 2D letter forms, and using perspective to develop complex characters with dynamic backgrounds in epic scale. By the early 1990’s, he had established a large fan base through his notorious work on the streets, underground hip-hop album covers featuring his iconic imagery, and his involvement in pioneering early street wear clothing and graffiti culture. In 1993, MEAR was the first graffiti artists from Los Angeles to travel to Tokyo and paint graffiti in front of a live public audience. In the mid 90’s, hip hop imagery and cultural icons in his work were replaced with a deeper, more introspective conversation based around a politically disillusioned reality that he felt hip-hop had ceased to address. At this point he began his transition from street graffiti to canvas paintings, and began his first body of acrylic and airbrushed paintings.

In 1996 MEAR ONE began performing at live events, and coined the term “Live Art” to describe the spontaneous, performative, and interactive act of painting in front of a live audience, which he considered akin to freestyle poetry and music. In 1998, MEAR was given the back editorial page of Urb Magazine, “The Final Exam,” which served as his vehicle for social commentary for a span of 33 issues over 3 years. In 1999, MEAR ONE was acknowledged for his contribution to graffiti art by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, during their exhibition, Roots, Rhyme, + Rage: The Hip-Hop Story, commemorating 20 years of hip-hop history. In 2000, MEAR ONE was selected among the world’s most accomplished graffiti artists for Guernseys Graffiti Art: The Auction, in conjunction with the Bronx Museum’s first major exhibition on graffiti art in the United States. In 2002, MEAR had his ground breaking solo exhibition at the politically oriented 33 1/3 Gallery in Los Angeles, the site where Bansky would make his Los Angeles debut later that year. In 2004, MEAR ONE, Robbie Conal, and Shepard Fairey organized a cross-country art tour, Be the Revolution, to raise awareness of the evils of the Bush-Cheney campaign. In 2010, MEAR joined with Kofie, Mac and Retna to form Vox Humana, a Live Art painting installation, which performed at The Los Angeles Art Show, and Volta 6 Art Fair in Basel, Switzerland. In 2010, MEAR painted Live Art at the Coachella Valley Music Festival in front of 90,000 people and was voted one of the “Most Interesting People To See at Coachella” by LA Weekly. In 2011, MEAR ONE was selected to be showcased in two critically acclaimed museum exhibitions of street art and graffiti, Art in the Streets at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Street Cred at the Padadena Museum of California Art.

MEAR ONE’s work is inspired by ancient technology, science, philosophy, mythology and mysticism, along with political and cultural revolution, and notions of the apocalypse. MEAR creates his own mythology from pop culture icons and important historic persons that have shaped our structured reality. He uses art as a tool to express his feelings of frustration with what he feels is a broken system. MEAR uses visual language to provide a critical viewpoint that exposes the history of corruption in America and the world at large. The diversity in his work often depicts an experience of transcendence in sharp contrast with depictions of the horrors of humanity, war, and oppression. His current body of work can be described as a series of allegorical oil paintings that draw upon history, mythology, political theory, conspiracy theory, modern myths, and current events. Stylistically he has been described as “urban psychedelic surreal,” and is perhaps best known for his climactic battle scenes taking place under broad expansive cityscapes with billowing cumulous clouds.

Selected recent exhibitions include: Art in the Streets, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2011), Street Cred, Pasadena Museum of California Art (2011), Scope Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland (2010), Volta 6 Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland (2010), Los Angeles Art Show (2010), Vox Humana: El Mac, Kofie, Mear One, and Retna, Rivera & Rivera Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2010)

Additional selected past exhibitions include: Mearasma, 01 Gallery, Los Angeles, California (2008), Pacific Northfresh, Upper Playground, Seattle, Washington (2008), Languedocalifornia, Salle Dominique Bagouet, Montpellier, France (2007), Manifest Energy and Radiate, Upper Playground, Portland, Oregon (2007), Celebrate Mickey: 75 Inspirations, Sotheby’s, New York, New York (2005), Los Angeles Biennial, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California (2004), 100 Artists See Satan, CSUF Grand Central Arts Center, Los Angeles, California (2004), Juxtapoz 8th Anniversary Art Show, Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (2002), Destroying Normality, 33 1/3 Gallery, Los Angeles, California (2002), Made In California, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2000), Last Thursday, Orlando Museum of Fine Art, Orlando, FL (2000), Poster Renaissance, New Image Art, Los Angeles, CA (1999), Calivera Kustom, Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (1998), Mear One, 01 Gallery, Los Angeles, California (1997), New Directions: Chaz Bojorquez and Mear One, 01 Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (1996)

Artist websitehttp://www.mearone.com/index.html
Artist YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/mearonehd

   A few examples of his work:
(note: click on images for an enlarged view)

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