ENCINITAS — A mural in downtown Encinitas that set off controversy two years ago over its portrayal of Hispanic immigrants is set to come down this week, the artist said.
Muralist Micaiah Hardison on June 1 is set to install a new mural, titled “Sea Change,” which depicts a native couple on the beach in Cardiff-by-the-Sea in two different epochs, pre-Columbian and modern time.
Hardison said he isn’t taking down the current “Encinitas Harmony” mural — which is displayed on the wall of the 7-Eleven convenience store on D Street and Coast Highway 101 — due to any of the previous controversy, but said it was always the plan to swap out the mural’s panels every couple of years.
It was one of the mural’s temporary panels — which depicted immigrants in a panga landing at Cardiff State Beach — that sparked criticism from a local barber, who called the artwork racist.
Hardison and supporters of the mural at the time said that the art was meant to evoke dialogue, and had accomplished that purpose.
“If controversy was the reason for taking the mural down, it would have been taken down a long time ago,” Hardison said. “Even the current panels are getting a little faded, so it’s good to switch them out every few years.”
Hardison did acknowledge that the 7-Eleven owner is breathing a sigh of relief that the new mural shouldn’t become a major talking point.
The new mural depicts one couple on the beach with the husband armed with a hunting spear and the wife collecting seaweed, while the other depicts the same couple holding surfboards.
“It shows how we’ve changed over generations, where we used to go to the ocean for sustenance and our survival, whereas now, we use it for recreation, to escape the routine of survival,” Hardison said.
The unveiling of “Sea Change” takes place at 1 pm on June 1.