The mural on the side of the Revolution Cafe on 22nd and Bartlett streets has seen many a revolution and at least two fires since a local muralist Cuba put it up in 2005.
Cuba, who is 50 years old and has been working in the Mission since the 1980s, had to replace his original mural in 2008 after a fire in one of the trash cans on Bartlett Street damaged the art work.
At that time, the artist was getting over a hip injury and Dino, another local artist, helped him with the repairs. Cuba told Mission Local in 2010 that, “To get up and paint that Revolution meant something,” he said, because at the time he was walking with a cane, but going up and down the ladder strengthened his leg.”
The cafe owner then hired Sirron Norris in 2010 to create another mural in the space. Norris and his helpers painted over Cuba’s mural on a day when another muralist, Eric Norberg, or Spie happened to walk by.
Norberg, also a well-known muralist, had helped with the earlier mural and took offense. The next morning, “No Culture Vultures,” appeared on the new in-progress Norris mural.
Norris said at the time that he had no idea of the mural’s history and after talking with Cuba, they agreed that a project should be done with neighborhood children. That created a sort of hodge-podge mural that was later replaced with another Cuba mural.
Recently, a fire damaged the new mural and once again Cuba stepped in to redo it – on his own dime – and to dedicate it to Maurice White, known as Reese, a young man from the neighborhood who was murdered in October, 2013.
“I don’t like letting my work go if it’s damaged,” said Cuba. “The theme is still revolution and this time its dedicated to someone who was murdered in front of the building.”