The Bogside Artists have started work to repair a mural paying tribute to John Hume and other leading human rights advocates which was damaged by vandals just days after it opened.
The gable mural was unveiled by Nobel Laureate Mr Hume and former Bishop of Derry Edward Daly last month.
However, the latest mural in the People’s Gallery was targeted by paint bombers several days later.
It also features former South African president and ANC leader Nelson Mandela, American civil rights founder Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa.
\[mcclew\]The artists took advantage of the sunshine to repair the damage, with tourists and local people gathering to watch them in action and offer tea throughout the afternoon.
One of the artists, Tom Kelly, said today he felt the vandalism of the mural had been a political attack.
“Somebody had a problem with John Hume being represented, but it is no big deal, it is part and parcel of being public artists,” he said.
“We are not deterred in any way whatsoever. The fact that John Hume has faced being hosed down by the British Army, being arrested and having his home petrol bombed in the past, I don’t think he would lose much sleep over this.”
Answering recent criticism of the mural, Mr Kelly said it had not been properly finished before the official unveiling but would soon be completed.
He added the community had been extremely supportive of the project and the artists’ acclaimed series of other murals charting the political history of the Bogside and Free Derry, which have become one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions.
\[mcclew\]”We have a groundswell of support from the local community and we have been overwhelm,ed by the indignation they have shown that the mural; was attacked.
“When the People’s Gallery was created it was exactly that- belonging to the people and that’s the way it is going to stay.”
Current SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the mural was a fitting tribute to his predecessor Mr Hume.
"It is great the work of John is to be reflected in this way," he said.
"The Bogside artists are saying that this will be the last addition to the People's Gallery and it is significant that they have chosen to honour John Hume in this way, someone who has served Derry so well. He has been to the forefront of a campaign to bring civil rights, equality, justice and peace to this part of the world.
"This mural will provide a permanent recognition of his work."