An acclaimed Australian graffiti artist has covered a mural of Hillary Clinton in a swim suit with an Islamic niqab after his social media account was banned and he was threatened with a fine for the “disrespectful” painting.
Besides the updated painting was the message: “If this Muslim woman offends u, u r a [sic] bigot, racist, sexist Islamophobe”. The local council, near Melbourne in Victoria, was also unimpressed by the Islamic veil and has demanded that it is also covered up.
The artist – who has also painted and posted images online of the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his wife in the nude – says is it “suspect” he was only target and censored after painting the Democratic nominee.
— streetartglobe (@streetartglobe) August 1, 2016
Maribyrnong council’s chief executive, Stephen Wall, said: “We believe that this mural is offensive because of the depiction of a near-naked woman, not on the basis of disrespect to Hillary Clinton, and it is not in keeping with our stance on gender equity”.
They threatened the artist, known as Lushsux, with a fine shortly after his Instagram account was closed down because of the same image. Lushsux, who has remained anonymous, told the Vine:
“I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but the timing of the Hillary mural and my account deletion is very suspect. Facebook/Instagram are clearly biassed towards her campaign.
“I’ve posted multiple [Donald] Trump Murals with no issue. Otherwise it may be Taylor Swift’s sweet revenge for the murals that got very viral last week.”
The Dongald, uncensored for twitter pic.twitter.com/aKpOGxEZxV
— @lushsux (@lushsux) July 31, 2016
The image was painted on the wall of a local business that sells wheelchairs and electric scooters.
After a council worker came in to threaten that, unless it wasn’t removed, they would do it themselves and the small business would have to foot the bill, the artist returned to cover it in an Islamic veil.
“This is no longer a wall of a supposed ‘offensive and near naked’ Hillary Clinton, a beautiful Muslim woman”, he tweeted along with an image of the updated, censored mural.
Decided to censor my work now as not to cause any offence. pic.twitter.com/Q8awqqjsUj
— @lushsux (@lushsux) July 29, 2016
“It’s just ridiculous”, a worker at the shop bearing the painting told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I was a bit angry they could come and do that when we’ve given permission and don’t find it offensive.
“I told him to go waste his time looking at pictures elsewhere and compare it, because to me it’s no worse than others around. You see more on TV, more around town.”
She also argued that the councils should be supporting small businesses and local artists, instead of trying to clamp down on things a small number people in the community and online find “offensive”.
“This artist is world acclaimed,” she said. “He’s a top Australian graffiti artist, he’s worked with Banksy, and he’s been all around the world. They should be proud they’ve got someone with such talent.”
Looks like the council wins. GG pic.twitter.com/oHtynW8v2Q
— @lushsux (@lushsux) August 2, 2016