The mural in the Butetown area of Cardiff has been damaged with paint
Police investigating criminal damage to a mural in Cardiff Bay say they are treating it as a hate crime.
The 'My City, My Shirt' mural was painted in April as part of a community project celebrating Cardiff as a diverse city.
Inspector Kevin Jones, from the community safety department of South Wales Police, said: "It would appear that white paint has been deliberately thrown onto the mural from the pavement area where there are also splashes of paint.
"Understandably, local residents, the artist and Unify Creative, who commissioned the project, are very upset by what has happened to this mural, which represents Cardiff as a proud, welcoming and multicultural city.”
The image, on James Street, is of Maimuna Indjai, who is wearing a Cardiff City shirt to represent her community and celebrate diversity in the capital.
The artwork is part of the 'My Cymru, My Shirt' campaign which is a photo-series project created by Yusuf Ismail and Shawqi Hasson from Butetown.
The aim was to encourage more people from diverse communities to connect with their city and football club, with the pair creating 23 portraits of people from around Cardiff wearing the Bluebirds' shirt.
Yusuf has said the damage is "deeply distressing."
"We have such a vibrant city, with people from many different communities, backgrounds and nationalities.
"Bradley, the artist that we commissioned, has been working on murals for 25 years - this is the first one that's been vandalised, and it just so happens to be of a black woman.
"I work in cities all over the UK and I always can't wait to get back to Cardiff, as we're such a progressive city and we're always moving forward, and this mural was designed to show that. There's no excuse for this kind of vandalism."
Yusuf also said the the timing of the incident was particularly upsetting with October marking Black History Month, as well as the unveiling of a statue of Wales' first black headteacher, Betty Campbell last week.
"There's been a lot of black and brown expression recently."
"That's obviously very positive for us, as it's really showcased these different communities and ethnicities in the best light.
"But this mural was created back in April - so for somebody to take the time with the intention of doing it during Black History Month and so close to the unveiling of the statue too, it's really distressing."
"I just want to ask: why? I want to know what provoked that individual to react to the art in that way," he said.
"I want to know why somebody felt negativity towards seeing a black woman represented in art like that, it's a celebration of the city and how welcoming and multicultural we are.
"It's disappointing and embarrassing - but there are bigger questions we need to ask now. What provoked this person? How can we learn from this? How can we protect black monuments from being vandalised? It's 2021, we want to move past this - we shouldn't be having people get upset because they see a black woman celebrated."
A GoFundMe page has now been set up to cover the costs of repairing the mural.
Meanwhile, local figures have taken to Twitter to denounce whoever is responsible for the vandalism.
Economy minister and local MS Vaughan Gething said he "hopes the perpetrators are caught", while Cardiff City Supporters' Trust said the incident is "appalling".
The damage to the mural was reported on Monday 4 October and is thought to have happened overnight. Anyone with information is being asked to contact South Wales Police quoting *348427 on their website.
The force also is reminding people to report any hate crimes they see or experience. A hate crime is any crime motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.