Residents upset over naked neighborhood painting

by: Tom Jones Updated:

ATLANTA - A community is up in arms over an art project that many say is pornographic.

It's located on an outdoor wall in southeast Atlanta at McDonough Boulevard and Sawtell Road, across the street from a church.

It's also near a school, a day care center and a mosque. The imam at the mosque said the last thing his community needs is a nude woman for all to see.

"It's pornographic. It's offensive," Tajiddin Muwwakkil told Channel 2s Tom Jones.

"I don't think it should be (displayed). The (pubic) hair is showing and nakedness. It's not necessary," another woman passing by said.

The painting shows a woman nude, then she dresses, and then she take off her dress, which turns into a wild animal that walks away. People upset with the image don't understand the message. But one parent said she does.

"It starts off as a woman and it end up as a dog so think about what it's really saying. Read between the lines," Wanda Cooper said.

The mural was painted by a street artist with the group Living Walls. The organization had its conference in Atlanta over the weekend and worked on similar projects like this one.

Jones did some digging and found out the city of Atlanta said the image wasn't approved. Atlanta's director of cultural affairs said the artist presented another image for approval and then put the controversial one up.

Some parents are so offended they said they're changing their routes to keep their kids from seeing it.

"This is a shortcut from his school. We'll take the long way home," Cooper said.

But there were some people who didn't have a problem with the painting.

"It's not just nudity. This is a form of art," parent Crystal Harvey said. She brought her two small children by to see the painting. Harvey said it shows a woman who is going through trials and tribulations then sheds her wild side.

"She's taken all the wildlife off her and now she's back to being in a Godly world," she said.

Community leader Tina Arnold agreed, saying the painting is about being a better person.

"I love the transformation," she said. "I understand exactly what it is this woman is going through."

Still, many people want the painting removed. Several people screamed as they drove by, "Get that out of my neighborhood."

The mural is on private property, but the city is exploring what it can do to remove it since it wasn't approved.