In a rather bizarre case involving New York City political rivals, the NY Post reports that Gwen Goodwin, 52 has reportedly filed a $1 million lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito for “putting a Santerian hex on her in the form of a black-magic mural on her Harlem apartment building,” after defeating her soundly during the Democratic primary in September. Goodwin has lived there since 1997.
The mural, a 5-story portrait of a bodliess rooster atop wooden poles was painted there last summer as part of the urban art campaign known as “Los Muros Hablan” (the walls speak). meant to celebrate New York’s Latino culture by painting murals on walls across the five boroughs. However, the rooster’s head lies just under Goodwin’s window, and is seen by many Caribbeans (particularly those who practice Santeria) in the neighborhood as equivalent to a “curse or death-threat,” according to Goodwin, who likened it to a “swastika in a Jewish area or noose placed in a black neighborhood.”
Although Goodwin professes to be Christian, she has blamed the mural for everything from causing her to lose the election because “emotional distress prevented her from running a winning campaign,” to causing a blood clot in her foot.”
“This intimated me and caused me fear. I’m a Christian. I don’t believe outside my religion, but strange things were happening,” Goodwin she told the Post.
In the meantime, Goodwin’s landlord, Eastside Managers Associates who agreed to the art project, has declined to comment.
*Santería (aka La Religion) is a religion which combines Roman Catholicism with rituals originally practiced by the Yoruba people of West Africa, such as using a trances to communicate with various deities as well as ancestors and deities, animal sacrifice and sacred drumming and dance.