Artist: Ann-Marie Stillion
Date of Action: December 3, 2016
Region: North America
Location: Seattle, WA
Confronting Bodies: Employee at Bel-Kirk Heating and Cooling Services
Description of Artwork: Ann-Marie Stillion's sculptural work, "Unfurled," was purposed to help people better understand, celebrate and appreciate Muslim women in Seattle. Stillion spent a year working with ten different Muslim women in order to produce three different sculptures, inside which were quotes from conversations she had with the women. The work, situated in a public park in Seattle, was the first public art project in Seattle which celebrated the life and culture of the muslim Community.
The Incident: The sculptures were installed on November 19th, 2016, but during the afternoon hours of December 3rd, 2016, an employee of Bel-Kirk Heating and Cooling Services who was working at the building next to the sculptures intentionally dug one of the sculptures out of the ground, dragged it away, and put his ladder where the sculpture once was. When the artist confronted the worker about his detrimental action to her art,he said that he detested the work, but claimed that he had to do it for his job. He began yelling obscenities and calling the artist offensive names.
Results of Incident: After Ann-Marie Stillion filed a police report shortly after the incident, A KIRO 7 news crew went to the address listed for Bel-Kirk, but no one came to the door. On the Yelp page for the business, a user wrote "Bel-Kirk has a great reputation in our region and an organized group of activist(s) are trying to slander an employee who was trying his best to complete a job safely in a challenging and dangerous situation" and that "This is nothing more than a hate crime against a hard working guy trying to get a job done without falling off a ladder." The worker's boss did not apologize, but he assured the artist that it would not happen again and that they respect her artistic work.
"unfurled" (project description)