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Painted-over mural in Broad Ripple outrages artists

Mural of famous artist gone

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The arts community is in shock after a local business painted over a mural depicting local artist Mpozi “Pozi” Mshale Tolbert.

“He was a humanist, and he showed it through his actions. He was a very caring person, he carried packs of supplies in his trunk with him all the time so if he came across someone experiencing homelessness,” said Tolbert’s friend Mike Graves.

Tolbert was an artist, A DJ and a photographer at IndyStar. He died in 2006, and a mural of him as a DJ with angel wings was put up on a wall at 6308 Guilford Ave. in the Broad Ripple business district in 2008.

“It wasn’t lewd or politically based or anything that you could have an issue with,” Graves said.

Artist Dan Handskillz had permission from the previous building’s owner to paint the mural. He had no idea the new owners would paint over it.

“I didn’t take it as some sort of personal affront to me or my work, but the point of the mural of Mpozi and the point of the mural of anyone who is dearly departed is so that there is a talking point to keep the story going,” Handskillz said.

Jordan Dillon, executive director of the Broad Ripple Village Association, said she met with the new owners in May and gave them some history about the mural. “If they did want to move on from the mural, it’s their right to do it. It’d be great to let people know and give people time to do closure with the mural,” Dillon said in an statement sent to News 8.

Handskillz said he’s considering repainting the mural on a different building in Broad Ripple, so long as the owner is willing to let him.

A hookah bar called Lava occupies the building where the mural used to be. News 8 called the manager of the bar for comment but did not hear back.