Famous Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg was in Edmonton on Friday, October 18 to join in a climate change protest and give a speech at the legislature. On the same day, a local Edmonton-based graffiti artist Aja Louden painted a portrait mural of Thunberg on Friday on a wall between 94 Street and Commonwealth Station that’s meant for public artwork. However, just two days after the portrait was painted on the wall, Greta Thunberg's' Edmonton mural was defaced with a slur and a pro-oil message.
The vibrant mural was a portrait of the 16-year-old against a bright blue background, and it was painted on a free wall along a bike path that runs parallel to 109 Street near the Alberta Legislature.
The eyes in the portrait were blacked out, and a slur and a message telling Thunberg to leave Canada were written over top in French.
Before the portrait was defaced, the mural read "Thank you Beaver Hills Warriors," which is a reference to the grassroots environmental group that helped lead Friday's march in Edmonton, and "Thank you Greta.”
Thousands of people joined Thunberg for the rally in Edmonton. The teen also visited several Indigenous communities in northern Alberta later in the week.
The mural featured the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist with the same look on her face as when she made some famous stinging remarks at a United Nations climate summit last month.
"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, yet I'm one of the lucky ones," she said during the summit. "People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing.”
The activist is known for her pointed and powerful remarks. She ended her climate rally speech in Edmonton on Friday with some strong concluding remarks against her haters.
Narcity Media reached out to the mural's artist Louden for comment and we will update this article.
@AJALouden Even though someone has defaced the Greta Thunburg mutal they cannot deface this post of the mural befor… https://t.co/hXcaw2N8NC— leannesgarden (@leannesgarden) 1571655103.0
“It’s on a freewall, anyone can paint there,” said Louden on Instagram to followers who commented on his posts expressing their dismay at the defaced mural.
“It’s all good tho, nothing lasts forever and he has just as much right to paint there,” continued Louden.
Just last week, Thunberg announced that she planned to attend the upcoming climate change marches in Alberta. However, she was met with some strong criticism online. People on Twitter told her she was "not welcome" and advised she didn't come to the province.
Shortly after, Calgary's mayor Naheed Nenshi and Edmonton's mayor both reached out stating they'd like to meet with the young Swedish activist.