CTO artist says he will paint Melbourne mural that offended Ukrainians

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In response, Seaton said he initially received positive feedback from some members of the art collective, but over time and the committee’s extensive discussion of the piece, a belief evolved that the work could be misconstrued as “offensive”.

“I had to support a message of peace, that’s still what I am,” he said.

Liana Slipetsky, president of the Noble Park Association of Ukrainians in Victoria branch, said when she first saw the mural she felt embarrassed that it had been erected in Australia.

“What would the Ukrainian refugees think? They just sought refuge here and then this mural is in their face? What does that tell them about Australians? she says.

“We have to keep Ukraine in mind, but in doing so we have to tell the truth and to me it’s like Russian propaganda.”

Seaton said he did not wish to excuse Russian acts of aggression and was saddened to have hurt the Ukrainian community.

He said he had no affiliation with the Russian community and that the mural was basically a “message of peace” and a meditation on the futility of armed conflict.

“If you’re going to blame me for anything, it’s that I have crazy, wacky hippie ideas around unity and we’re all one.”

Seaton was selling 12 NFTs (non-fungible or “non-tradable” tokens) of the mural. The NFT video – which contains audio from a US nuclear bomb test – shows the mural bombed and engulfed by a mushroom cloud, before the world exploded.

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The artworks are currently selling for 0.08 of the Ethereum cryptocurrency, or around $124. Seaton said on Instagram that the proceeds from the sale of the NFTs will go to the World Beyond War organization.

The artwork was originally meant to be painted once all of the video NFTs were sold out, Seaton said.

Dr Olga Boichak, a lecturer in digital cultures at the University of Sydney, said the image created a false equivalence between “Russia’s unprovoked, unwarranted unilateral aggression” and Ukraine.

She said the image perpetuated a damaging narrative that the countries are “brotherly nations”, despite Russia’s repeated attempts to invade and colonize Ukraine.

“There have been many instances where our language and our culture have been restricted, where people have been executed and where genocide has taken place… This hug is a strangulation,” Boichak said.

“That’s what makes this fresco really problematic… Ukraine is not in a position to lay down its arms and stop the fighting.”

Stefan Romaniw of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations said in a statement that by accepting a false narrative that all the world needed was peace, the artwork was “in fact supporting evil”.

“What would people think if a mural depicted a rapist and a victim kissing? Wouldn’t that offend any decent person’s belief that asking a victim to excuse their rapist while the crime is still ongoing, unacknowledged and unatoned for is wrong? »

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