'Utterly Offensive' Melbourne Mural Painted Over
Credit: Screengrab
September 5, 2022

A mural of a Russian and a Ukrainian soldier embracing was quickly condemned, the artist saying he hadn't meant any offense, despite it being explained to him repeatedly by the Australian arts community that the image's insensitive nature and message were inappropriate.

Source: The Guardian

The Ukrainian ambassador to Australia has slammed the painting of a large mural in Melbourne that shows Russian and Ukrainian soldiers hugging.

Vasyl Myroshnychenko said the mural near the CBD was “utterly offensive to all Ukrainians” and the artist “has no clue about the RU invasion of Ukraine”.

“​​The mural creates a sense of a false equivalency between the victim and the aggressor. It must be promptly removed,” he said in a tweet.

A Melbourne community leader was appalled as well, comparing it to a rapist and a victim hugging.

Community leader Stefan Romaniw described the artwork's message as a drawing a "false moral equivalence between the aggressor and the victim".

“What would people think if a mural featured a rapist and a victim hugging?" Mr Romaniw, the co-chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations, said in a statement.

“Trying to be ‘even-handed’ and accepting a false narrative that ‘all we need is peace’ in this case supports evil.

"It endorses Russia’s actions and enforces on Ukraine an obligation to accept attempts to destroy it."

Apparently, the artist could not be reasoned with and decided to proceed despite being told that many would find it offensive and inappropriate..

The artist of the mural, Peter Seaton, titled it 'Peace Before Pieces', and described the message of the artwork as "focusing on a peaceful resolution between the Ukraine and Russia."

"Sooner or later the continued escalation of conflicts created by Politicians will be the death of our beloved planet," he said on his website.

Not-for-profit art organisation Art4Ukraine Australia said that Seaton raised his artwork to the team, but Ukrainian artists said it was inappropriate.

The group said it was shocked he went through with the piece.

"Peter had presented this piece to our team, who explained the insensitive nature of the image and that the message was inappropriate," Art4Ukraine Australia said in an Instagram post.

Ukraine's ambassador heaped scorn on the mural.

As did Olga Boichak, a lecturer in digital cultures at the University of Sydney.

Twitter was similarly disgusted, some offering more accurate versions of the mural.

UPDATE: The mural has been now been painted over.

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