Photos by Asia Morris.
Today the Aquarium of the Pacific and Clark Construction Group began chipping away at the mural Portuguese street artist Pantónio painted during Pow! Wow! Long Beach 2016. This was the first mural the artist had painted in the United States and it has resonated with locals and aquarium visitors alike for the nearly one year it’s graced the 2,600 square-foot wall.
The paint must come off so construction crews can identify existing columns and beams that the new Pacific Visions wing will attach to. Surveying the surface of the wall is necessary to finding these measurements so they can move forward with ordering the steel parts, said Fahria Qader, aquarium employee and project director.
When the mural was painted, it was tied in with the aquarium’s current exhibit, Vanishing Animals, which sought to educate visitors about endangered marine life. The mural had always been a temporary installation, painted before the start of construction of the aquarium’s first major expansion, of which the groundbreaking ceremony took place in February.
“[…]It emphasizes that storyline that we really need to take it all in when it’s here, because it doesn’t last forever,” Sean Devereaux, aquarium manager of volunteer services told the Post in a 2016 interview regarding the mural. “It’s just a beautiful, traumatic, but inspirational story behind not only the gallery that we opened, but this epic mural by Pantónio, the first one in the United States by this amazing artist. It’s not going to last forever.”