Photos: ‘Creative Freedom Does Not Exist’ Sign

September 17, 2018

[Updated] A new message — stating “Creative freedom does not exist in a sanitized paradise” — has appeared on a wall on Church Street in Hamilton, with the cut out lettering taped onto the wall; with the message appearing after the controversy surrounding the removal of a mural by local artist April Branco.

The Corporation of Hamilton previously said as the art “strayed from criteria” they “made the regretful decision to paint over the work so that it does not violate City policy and set a precedent going forward,” while artist April Branco, said “not one single ‘policy’ of which the City spoke of was presented to me at the outset of this project,” adding that she is “appalled at the blatant lack of respect the City has shown for local art and artists.”

Update 6.01pm: A Corporation spokesperson said, “Irony abounds! Freedom is a two way street. Not only should you be allowed freedom of expression but also the freedom of knowing your freedoms contracted to others to be expressed will be done as originally agreed.

“This anonymous voice ignores that, similarly sanitises their own message by misspelling a familiar swear word*, and condemns ‘the collective’, which must be a jab at the democratic, non-elitist process.

“We did not engage in the Art Festival mural program to become the art police of Hamilton, nor will we now engage in policing people’s freedom of speech.

“This act of vandalism was done in a genteel manner, with paper cutouts and in a way to minimalize the cost of ‘making good.’ Even though asked, we will not pursue those involved but instead will leave it up for the next day or two for people to reflect on and, we hope allow frayed emotions to heal,” the City concluded.

*As a note, the reference to a “misspelling a familiar swear word” is part of the message that wasn’t visible by time we took photos.

Update 8.31pm: Artist April Branco told Bernews, “I was made aware of the message put up in the space where my mural existed. I was not in any way involved with it, but clearly the public have spoken. And I definitely agree with the sentiment.

“We need to bring our understanding of art into the 21st century. It is not merely decoration, it also can be social, political and racial commentary; and that too is acceptable, relevant and necessary. Those in positions of power need to stop censoring and muzzling the creative expression of the people. Public art should represent the public. The era of flora & fauna, pink cottages and longtails is over.

“My work was benign and supportive of Bermudian culture and its people, there was no reasonable explanation for its removal and I am buoyed by the public’s overwhelmingly supportive response to my work. Thank you Bermuda!”

Creative freedom does not exist in a sanitized paradise Bermuda Sept 2018 (1)

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Creative freedom does not exist in a sanitized paradise Bermuda Sept 2018 (8)

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Comments (24)

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  1. Toodle-oo says:

    I wonder if this could all be manufactured by the powers that be to make us forget about titty milk ?

    • corporation says:

      Don’t be stupid.Face the facts. The Corporation is outdated and should resign.

    • PBanks says:

      I can’t envision a situation where either Ms Branco or the COH would be seeking a ‘diversion’ from the titty milk ‘saga’?

      • Toodle-oo says:

        As I fully expected an attempt at humor/sarcasm/tin foil hat theories went right over certain people.

  2. cha says:


  3. Truthertz says:

    You got paid to do a job and you failed to provide as per the terms of the contract.

    No fault but your own on this one April.

    And it appears to me that your creative freedom was attacked by your preferred Gombey Troupe as they told you know regarding the inclusion of other Troupe Captains.

    • Truthertz says:

      *told you NO regarding the inclusion of other Troupe Captains.

  4. combined says:

    There’s a lovely piece of (semi-literate) prose written on the wall below the bridge on Palmetto Road.

    • PBanks says:

      Didn’t see the text in full but it’s still there today. Must not be a priority to address.

  5. Family Man says:

    Tacky. No class.

  6. question says:

    She has the freedom to create anything she wants.

    She’s coming across like a whiney 8-year-old.

  7. Izzypop says:

    There are cameras in that area. I am sure if they wanted too they could kind the culprits
    Sad situation but both parties hv given their side
    Not more can be sad

  8. eyes wide open says:

    and all because she didn’t get her own way!

  9. corporation says:

    Corporation have it all wrong. They are a sad bunch. Shame on them.

  10. Real Deal says:

    Where can i get those letters they are very visible i need them

  11. promise one thing but provide another says:

    I am an artist- if I were to promise one artwork and provide another it would be known as breach of contract- most adults understand this concept. Why is this case any different? The artwork idea had to be submitted for approval- the paperwork is clear if you read it through as you should with anything you sign. I was going to apply to do one of these murals, but realized I could not complete the work in the time they required. I knew if I could not follow through as per contract, I would be in breach. I didn’t apply.
    The story here is: Ms. Branco promised one thing and provided another. There is no other part to this story. The reality is: she is wrong and CofH is right.

  12. Dread says:

    Who cares? Let’s talk about “titty milk”

  13. Hello says:

    That era is not over and should never be… is also part of our culture and history. You were wrong in doing what you did and don’t want to admit it. Most Bermudians are not behind on this…..move on please.

  14. Colonel Angus says:

    It was a beautiful mural too.To paint over it was nasty as hell and insulting!!!!!

  15. Rockfish#1 says:

    Bermudians must be amongst the most gullible people on earth.
    If this artist feels wronged by the Corporation of Hamilton,rather than making herself seem to be some sort of entitled prima donna,why not have the matter settled in court?
    Any bets on the outcome?

  16. One Who Escaped says:

    From what I understand this was a commissioned piece. If so, perhaps this artist should grow up and learn a bit about business and contracts. Welcome to the real world. It gets worse.