New Laika anti-Mafia poster appears within meters of L'Aquila Prison

ROME- A new mural has appeared by famous street artist Laika, depicting Giuseppe Di Matteo riding a horse with the caption “Mafia Sucks”. The street art was strategically placed Sunday evening near the L’Aquila prison between Scoppita and Costarelle di Preturo, where Matteo Messina Denaro is being held following his arrest last week. 

 The poster portrays Giuseppe Di Matteo, victim of one of Messina Denaro’s more notorious crimes, the 12-year-old son of Denaro’s ex-rival of justice Santino Di Matteo, who was killed and dissolved in acid by the Mafia on Jan. 11, 1996. The young boy was kidnapped from the stables he frequented often and kept prisoner for almost three years before being ruthlessly murdered. 

 Giuseppe is portrayed on his horse celebrating the capture of the mafia super boss and instigator of his murder. The street artist, who works under the alias Laika, said they created the poster after reading the words of Giuseppe’s father, who had proclaimed that the arrest was a victory and that “with the arrest of Messina Denaro all the men of that heinous crime which at the time shocked the whole country, are finally in prison.”

 Although the artwork portrays a specific victim and is associated with Denaro, the poster is a statement against not only Denaro but the entire system to which he belongs, with the artist saying that “The mafia is a form of cancer to be eradicated, the mafia is in the institutions, actions, mentality, culture of certain people.” They further stated they were inspired by the words of Giovanni Falcone, another one of Denaro’s many victims who had said that “Whoever keeps silent and bows his head dies every time he does it, whoever speaks and walks with his head held high dies only once.” 

 Also, the artist said they hope the work encourages people to denounce the Mafia, without fear and that it is a dedication to Giuseppe but also to Giovanni Falcone, Paolo Borsellino, Nadia Nancioni, and all other victims of the Mafia. Laika also says they wish that Matteo Messina Denaro will continue to live in his condition for as many days as possible with the knowledge that right outside his imprisonment is the image of Giussepe Di Matteo, rejoicing at his capture.