FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Denver Airport Mural Of Children Wearing Face Masks That Was Painted In 1994?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a Denver International Airport mural depicting children of various nationalities wearing face masks that was painted in 1994.

Verdict: False

The artwork isn’t displayed at the Denver International Airport and appears to have been digitally altered. The photo of it first started circulating earlier this year.

Fact Check:

The Denver International Airport, known for its art displays and distinctive architecture, has been the subject of conspiracy theories since before it opened to the public in 1995, according to the Denver Post.

Social media users recently shared an image of a painting, purportedly created in 1994 and installed in the Denver airport, in an attempt to suggest that the coronavirus pandemic was planned. The painting shows children wearing face masks with the flags of various countries on them.

“The Denver airport mural painted in 1994,” claims the post. “Tell me this is not weird, how far do they plan this stuff in advance?” (RELATED: Viral Image Claims Bodies Infected With COVID-19 In New York Become Property Of State, Get Incinerated)

But, contrary to the post’s claim, the artwork in question is not displayed at the Denver International Airport. Nor was it painted over two decades ago.

“That is not an image from DEN’s art collection,” Alex Renteria, a public information officer for the airport, told the Daily Caller in an email. “The only mural painted in 1994 for DEN featuring international children wearing traditional clothing and that also features flags is Leo Tanguma’s ‘Children of the World Dream of Peace.’ But there are no kids wearing masks.”

A reverse image search shows the earliest social media posts containing the painting are from February 2020. Filipino artist Christian Joy Trinidad posted the painting on his Facebook page that month with the caption “Maskcommunication.” In the photo that he shared on his Facebook page, one of the children’s masks shows a Palestinian flag rather than an Israeli flag, indicating that version being shared was likely photoshopped.

The same painting was submitted to the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) for a recent coronavirus-themed art competition under a different title. The ICCR website attributed the work to someone named Neha Kumari and listed it as having been submitted in 1995, though that appears to be an error. The contest’s guidelines state that submissions were only accepted from April 2 to May 1, 2020.

In the photo that Trinidad posted on his Facebook page, his signature is visible in the bottom-right corner of the painting. The version on the ICCR website, which is no longer available, did not show the bottom area, and the name “Neha” instead appeared in the top-left corner. The ICCR did not respond to the Caller’s request for comment regarding the authorship of the work.

Trinidad told the Caller in an Instagram direct message that he started creating the painting in February for an art competition but did not submit it to the ICCR’s contest. He has also posted photos showing what he describes as the making of the painting and him posing with it on social media.

“I just want to portray how communication plays a vital role among nations in facing the coronavirus outbreak,” he told the Caller in an Instagram direct message.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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