This is one haute hut.
Jojo Anavim, a New York-based celebrity artist and favorite of NBA players, such as Carmelo Anthony, and stars, including Selena Gomez, who fetches as much as $60,000 for his whimsical contemporary pieces, has gifted a mural to a congregation that recently experienced a hate crime.
The mural festooning a hut in the middle of Carl Schurz park on the Upper East Side commemorates the ancient Jewish pilgrimage festival of Sukkot, which revolves around eating and dwelling in a “sukkah” (a temporary hut-like structure) as a way of remembering the Israelites’ wandering in the desert for 40 years.
Anavim gifted it to the Chabad Young Professionals UES’ community sukkah, which was defaced last year with anti-Israel graffiti.
When he saw the graffiti, Anavim decided to fight back, using beauty as his brawn. His “Happy Sukkot” mural adds what the artist calls a “Jewish foliage” theme.
“The climate is becoming more and more anti-Semitic, and I see more of my friends shy away from embracing their Jewish identity,” he tells The Post. “I think it’s time to do just the opposite. It’s a way of overcoming the hostility and negativity. I want to tell the world I’m Jewish.”
“Last year, people were very angry,” says Chabad rabbi Yaya Wilhelm, who runs the chapter. “There was a sense of rage and disgust. They asked how this could happen on the UES.”
That’s when Jojo stepped in. “He’s saying, ‘We’re proud, we’re strong, and we won’t be intimidated,’” Wilhelm says. “‘We’re going to come back stronger and more beautiful.’ ”
For their part, the community is so protective of their new sukkah that they’re not taking any chances.
“People are guarding it on a rotation, after one of the community members said he was so devastated by what happened last year,” Wilhelm says.
Now the night shift is covered by a few vigilant locals.
“Any time you have any public exhibition in NYC, you open yourself up to activity — and add that to the fact it’s Jewish,” Anavim says. “There’s always going to be a reason not to do something, but I want this to be a positive message.”
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