Mississauga artist overjoyed after coworker restores vandalized art she created in honour of her father
A Mississauga artist who was absolutely devastated to see a very special piece of artwork destroyed by messy streaks of bold, black graffiti is breathing a sigh of relief—and feeling thankful—after the piece was kindly restored by a coworker.
Angela Chao, an award-winning visual artist with the Mississauga Arts Council (MAC), recently took to TikTok to tearfully share her disappointment at seeing a Bell box that she painted to honour her late father defaced by graffiti.
This box is located at Windwood Park, close to the Britannia and Winston Churchill intersection.
Chao also has another piece at the soon-to-be-renovated Meadowvale Theatre.
“I walked past [the piece] today just to visit it and someone has graffitied all over it,” Chao said through tears on social media, adding that the box was the first thing she painted after her father passed away.
“So, whoever you are, please just respect the art that’s around you and the reason why it was created because this was an example of healing for me. For my dad. And now all I can think of is hate. So why did you do this? Why couldn’t you just respect the art?”
I painted this Bellbox after my dad passed away. I couldn’t really talk about it so i made it into art. I found out today someone has graffiti #hurtoriginal sound - Angela Chao
Chao, who received an award of recognition from Mayor Bonnie Crombie for a poem she wrote about her father’s passing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, told insauga.com that she was commissioned to paint the Bell box last summer.
“This was a tribute to my dad that passed.”
Chao said that just 24 hours after she posted her video, a coworker restored her piece to as close to its original condition as possible.
“Because I tagged the location on Facebook and Instagram at that time a stranger went to clean it up. I later found out it was my coworker, David Dodge,” Chao said in an email.
In a new video posted to TikTok, Chao tearfully thanked the then-mysterious helper for restoring her work.
There’s an update on my Bellbox. I came home to this yesterday after work. My faith in humanity is restored.. I can’t believe #kindnesswinsoriginal sound - Angela Chao
“Somebody took the time out of their life to come here and clean up my Bell box,” Chao said on TikTok before she realized Dodge was the Good Samaritan.
“It’s almost back to normal…you can’t even tell the [graffiti] was there. Thank you for taking the time to clean up my Bell box.”
Chao said she learned a lot from the experience.
“This has shown me a few important things. Anything can happen to public art. It can be vandalized. Don’t have an emotional attachment. Kindness wins over everything. Be a genuine person and you will be treated with love. As someone commented in life you are a teacher or a student. In this case, I was both,” she said.
“This has been a huge learning curve for me. I have unfortunately had to grow it in the public eye. It’s easy to say, don’t take it personal, or what do you expect it’s public art… it’s another to apply it instantly to your life. This was my first public art piece. I know what to do differently next time.”
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