Tagging Goes Too Far for Nilufar

Nilufar, a popular restaurant downtown, was recently tagged by local graffiti artists. Photo courtesy of Nilufar

While it might seem common for victims of vandalism to pursue criminal cases and press charges, some people like restaurant owner Nilufar Al-Shourbaji don’t think it’s necessary to go after the perpetrators.

Her restaurant Nilufar, located on St. Catherine St. West, was marked up by graffiti overnight this past Saturday. Her outlet serves “quality middle-eastern cuisine,” and is blessed with a loving and loyal customer-base.

“There are a lot of people that are really protective over this place,” Al-Shourbaji said. “All our customers are repeat customers.”

Since it was opened 21 years ago by her parents, Al-Shourbaji is sure that the restaurant has been vandalized in the past. “It hasn’t been this bad in a really long time,” she said.

She doesn’t plan to press charges or inform the police. “Already the point has been spread across because people recognize the tags, and they just tell their friends to back off,” she said.

The restaurant won’t be dealing with graffiti-removal costs either, since the city of Montreal takes up the responsibility of cleaning defaced public property, according to Al-Shourbaji.

“They come and they paint it because it reflects badly on the city,” she said. “They’ll take care of it before St. Patrick’s day if I call and file a complaint.”

According to the SPVM’s website, “in 2013, the Ville de Montreal spent $3.5 million cleaning graffiti from 150,000 square meters of walls, street furniture and equipment.”

Companies like Solution Graffiti, and the Societe de transport to Montreal, lend a hand to the graffiti cleaning campaign.

Despite not pursuing the case, Al-Shourbaji is disappointed with the situation.

“I just think it sucks and it’s really disrespectful,” she said. “There’s a fine line between tagging and really nice graffiti art. We have some insanely talented people. I see their murals and I mean, you just want to sing, they’re so beautiful.

“But this is just purely tagging, like being an asshole. This has nothing to do with art.”