A banner that appeared on Calgary’s Bowfort Towers by Canada Olympic Park on Saturday morning is creating controversy.
The large banner on the art installation, which was unveiled in August, read “Nenshi Towers.” It was taken down later in the day and the person or group who put it up has not been identified.
Watch below: Mayoral candidates Andre Chabot, Naheed Nenshi and Bill Smith answer the question: What is your position on the city’s public art policy versus spending on other infrastructure and programs?
Political observers said the banner is one of many examples of misinformation that has been used in Calgary’s 2017 municipal election campaign.
“The impression it gives is that this is somehow the responsibility or the fault of Mayor Nenshi,” Lori Williams, a political analyst at Mount Royal University, told Global News on Sunday. “It was an independent committee that decided that would be a good idea and council approved it.
“Fifteen people were responsible for voting on that,” she added.
Williams said the banner points to the fact a considerable amount of money is being spent on election campaigns in Calgary.
“There have been places where a lot of money has been put in,” she said. “Those bot campaigns cost money. The banner that was put up at the Bowfort Towers cost a lot of money. That’s a professional job. You really start to wonder who is behind this and unfortunately, we can’t identify that.”
On Sunday, incumbent mayoral candidate Naheed Nenshi said he was disappointed by the banner.
“When we saw that happen, I was like, ‘Come on, we are better than that,'” Nenshi said. “Whether you like it or not, this is some artist’s life work and you were vandalizing it in this way. And by the way, you were vandalizing it with a banner that clearly cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars and does not have your name on it.”
The public art project has been criticized for its appearance, its $500,000 price tag and because the project was awarded to a New York-based artist.