Street artists worldwide are creating powerful and thought-provoking works in protest of systemic racism but a Sydney mural standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter was removed after 24 hours.
Scottie Marsh’s work in Sydney’s Redfern, a torched police van with BLM on the hood, was removed on Tuesday after NSW Police said they’d received “several complaints from the community.”
Marsh took to Instagram to vent his disappointment at police and council workers that painted over the work, which was hidden in an alleyway and painted with permission from the property owner.
“Pretty disappointing to be sent a video of Police and City of Sydney council painting over my mural this morning less than 24hrs after its completion,” Marsh posted on Instagram.
“It’s a confronting image, it’s is supposed to be. It was also painted with permission from the property owner and intentionally tucked away in a laneway where you wouldn’t see it unless it found you.
“In a time when anti-police sentiment is high, I don’t see what’s to be gained by censoring public artwork that you don’t agree with, NSW Police.”
The words “to Hickey” were also included in Marsh’s Redfern mural.
TJ Hickey was a 17-year-old First Nations Australian who was impaled by a fence after being thrown off his bike in February 2004 while being pursued by police vehicles.
Marsh is selling t-shirts of the artwork, titled “A symbol of pain and frustration”, with 100% of the profits going to local charity.
Dozens of street art murals have been painted in cities across the globe following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
Many of the artworks memorialise Black people killed by the police, such as this depiction of Floyd painted near where he died:
Others reference the Black Lives Matter movement and the global anti-racism demonstrations. Some call out President Donald Trump, who has labelled protesters radical thugs and has encouraged further police violence.
Legendary street artist Banksy also has weighed in with a painting of the American flag on fire.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has sharply criticised Trump’s militarised response to protests in her city, had the words “Black Lives Matter” painted on a street near the White House. The mayor’s action was dismissed by the local Black Lives Matter chapter as a “performative distraction from real policy changes” aimed at appeasing white liberals in the US.
Check out some notable pieces of street art below.
Lee Moran contributed to this report.
This article originally stated that the Cronulla riots happened after the death of TJ Hickey although it was the Redfern riots.