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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

A Huge Mural of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Is Now Gracing a Melbourne Silo

The 25-metre-tall painting is a tribute to the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings.
By Libby Curran
May 24, 2019
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A Huge Mural of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Is Now Gracing a Melbourne Silo

The 25-metre-tall painting is a tribute to the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings.
By Libby Curran
May 24, 2019
  shares

An unassuming Brunswick silo has become a towering new mural showing New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embracing a Muslim woman. But the large-scale artwork has also rustled up plenty of controversy, with backlash over the depiction of a foreign leader, rather than a local.

The original photo of an emotional, hijab-clad Ms Ardern was taken as she comforted members of Christchurch's Muslim community, following the March 15 terror attacks on two of the city's mosques. Captured by New Zealand-based photographer Hagen Hopkins, it's since become an iconic image, reproduced in various large-scale iterations across the world.

Locally, a GoFundMe page drummed up $11,000 — in a single day — to fly renowned street artist Loretta Lizzio to Melbourne, so she could capture the image in paint, on the side of the 25-metre-tall Tinning Street silo. Any extra money has gone to supporting the attack victims' families, through the Christchurch Shooting Victims' Fund. Having lived and worked in Melbourne previously, Lizzio is a renowned artist and muralist whose work has appeared everywhere from Vancouver and New York, to London. She donated nine days of her time to creating the project, which was completed last Sunday.

While the silo is privately owned and the project had full the support of its owner, it still managed to cop a bit of backlash. Some locals aren't on board with the idea of using the large-scale work to reference an attack that happened overseas, instead of something more locally focused. One Change.Org petition had 14,696 signees calling for the mural to be stopped, citing its so-called irrelevance to the Melbourne community.

View this post on Instagram

Work in progress. Photographed by @slocummatthew

A post shared by Loretta Lizzio (@loretta_lizzio) on

On her latest Instagram post for the mural, the artist shared her own views on the matter, in response to one of the critics. "Appreciate the feedback, though this has everything to do with Aus, as anywhere in the world," she writes. "Hate crimes are a global issue... This particular project is about love and acceptance of all that call Aus home no matter your background."

Loretta Lizzio's mural of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is located at 20-24 Tinning Street, Brunswick.

Published on May 24, 2019 by Libby Curran

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