Indianapolis locals furious after Mpozi Mshale Tolbert mural painted over

September 20, 2023 by No Comments

A wall outside Lava in Broad Ripple, which had previously featured a mural paying tribute to Mpozi Mshale Tolbert of Indianapolis, now bears a fresh coat of paint. This artwork, dedicated to the memory of the former DJ and IndyStar photojournalist, was initially created in the summer of 2007, one year following his passing. Now, it is covered in grey paint with all traces of Tolbert gone.

The location where this mural was displayed held special significance, as it was once the site of the former Patio music venue, which ceased operations in 2005. Artist Dan Handskillz, who played a role in its creation and painting, emphasized the importance of this spot. Mpozi Mshale Tolbert, deeply intertwined with Indianapolis’ music scene, made multifaceted contributions to both the venue and the surrounding neighborhood, both on stage and behind the scenes.


Unsurprisingly, Indianapolis locals weren’t happy with this and it does beg the question why this step was taken. Speaking on Reddit, one user wrote: “I don’t even understand why. I don’t think any mural should be painted over but this one especially is like actually good and makes sense for the space, and for Indy. Whose horrible decision was this?”

Similarly, another user said this: “This makes me sad for Indy. He was a friend to everyone, but also a friend of mine. How is what now looks like a kitchen backsplash better than the artwork of a genuinely and universally loved member of the community? I feel like if Ron was also still with us, this would not have been allowed to go down so easily.”

With this said, hopefully the landlord can come up with some kind of solution as it looks as though the vast majority were in favor of the Tolbert mural.

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