The mayor of Liverpool, UK, has condemned the actions of ‘fascist thugs’ after a memorial to dead refugees in the city was vandalized for the third time in two months. ‘Invaders not refugees!’ was daubed across The List – displayed as part of the Liverpool Biennial – which names the 34,361 migrants who have died while seeking refuge in Europe since 1993.
Mayor Joe Anderson branded the vandals’s defacement of the memorial ‘despicable’, and said that they ‘have had their brains invaded by hatred.’ In a tweet, Anderson pledged: ‘We will not be beaten by fascist thugs and we will pay for another memorial. I want volunteers to help me protect. #hopenothate’.
The List was installed as a series of posters along Liverpool’s Great George Street. It was first torn down at the end of July, after which it was swiftly reinstated. It was attacked by vandals again in August. Turkish artist Banu Cennetoğlu – who has supported the distribution of The List, drawn from data compiled by NGO network UNITED for Intercultural Action – said that the project would not be reinstated.
After the second attack on the project last month, the artist commented: ‘[The List] has been repeatedly damaged, removed and targeted since it was installed. We have decided to leave it in this current ‘state’ as a manifestation and reminder of this systematic violence exercised against people.’ At the time, the city council promised to work with the Liverpool Biennial to ‘shine a light on how we need to do more to promote a tolerant and compassionate society.’
Cennetoğlu has facilitated the distribution of The List since 2007. While she does not consider it an artwork, the artist looks to support its public presence. It appeared as a special supplement in The Guardian newspaper earlier in the year. Prior to the Liverpool Biennial, its previous editions had never been attacked. Don’t miss Tom Emery writing on how the refusal to reinstate The List at Liverpool allows it to stand as a monument of shame: ‘a reminder to confront extremist, anti-immigration views wherever they might be found.’