Just over six months after an iconic neighborhood mural was defaced, it has been restored to its original glory and will be presented to the public early next month, marking the one-year anniversary from when it first went up.
In July 2014, Polish-American muralist Rafal Pisarczyk inaugurated a mural on one of the exterior walls of the Warsaw on Driggs Avenue, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising that took place in Nazi-occupied Poland during WWII.
But just three months after the mural was inaugurated amidst much fanfare and overwhelming support from the Greenpoint community, the mural was sprayed over with big white lettering.
According to the artist, the vandals returned to the site of the mural the night after they tagged it to admire their work, and were almost caught by security, but narrowly avoided escape.
At least one of the suspects was eventually caught and received a sentence of community service, according to Pisarczyk.
But now, after working on the mural over a course of two weeks, Pisarczyk has been able to restore it, and add some new flourishes as well.
Some of the characters depicted in the mural now have names and quotes appearing along them. Pisarczyk added some poetry as well including a moving piece by a Polish poet about a boy who died in the uprising.
“In the beginning it was a little frustrating working on something that had been destroyed,” said Pisarczyk. “But when you see the work coming back to life you don’t think about it anymore. It was nice coming back to the wall and rewarding the second time around.”
But in many ways the second coming of the mural was also a tribute to the city of Warsaw, for Pisarczyk. The city had been completely destroyed by the uprising leaving between 150,000-200,000 Poles dead and over 700,000 displaced.
Warsaw rose back up from the ashes, and for Pisarczyk the work on the mural was made all the more symbolic in that regard.
Already Greenpointers who have witnessed the new work, particularly as it was being created, have commented on how moved they’ve been by the words and the quotes added in, according to Pisarczyk.
The new mural will be unveiled at the Warsaw on August 2, the time of the ceremony is yet to be determined.