A Melbourne Street performer has been slammed for an “extremely offensive” mural of a Ukrainian and Russian soldier in a tight embrace.
Artist Peter “CTO” Seaton’s controversial work “Peace Before Pieces” quickly garnered attention after it was unveiled in the south of the city last week.
The artist has been inundated with criticism from the local Ukrainian community, who say the mural undermines the brutality of Russiainvasion of their homeland.
A Melbourne street performer was slammed for a “highly offensive” mural of a Ukrainian and Russian soldier in a tight embrace (pictured).
Outraged social media users took to Twitter to join the pile after Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko condemned the artwork (pictured).
Outraged social media users took to Twitter to join the pile after Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko condemned the artwork.
“A recently unveiled mural depicting an RU and UA soldier embracing is extremely offensive to all Ukrainians,” the ambassador tweeted on Saturday night.
“The painter is unaware of the RU invasion of Ukraine and it is disappointing that this has happened without consulting the Ukrainian community in Melbourne.”
Mr Myroshnychenko said the mural created “a sense of false equality between the victim and the attacker” and called for it to be removed immediately.
Mr Seaton uploaded an Instagram video on Sunday in which he apologized to the Ukrainian people and said his intention was to promote peace
Art 4 Ukraine Australia said in a statement that it warned the artist at the consultation stage that the mural would be offensive to Ukrainians.
The group said Mr Seaton decided to proceed with the artwork despite his “reasonable reasons” and asked the artist on Sunday to remove the Russian and Ukrainian flags to instead depict “an image that supports peace worldwide”.
In response, the artist said he received initial positive feedback, but over time he had been warned that the artwork could be perceived negatively.
“I had to stand behind a message of peace, that’s always what I’m about,” he said.
Mr Seaton uploaded an Instagram video on Sunday in which he apologized to the Ukrainian people and said his intention was to promote peace.
Thanking people for their “interest” in his work, he said he was trying to get the message across that humans are fundamentally a united group.
“This work is not intended to excuse the aggression that the Russians have continued and their terrible crimes against humanity,” he said.
He said it hurt him on a “deep, spiritual level” that war was the answer to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and said it had no place in 2022.
“I have no connection with any Russian people, media or anything,” he said.
Mr Seaton (pictured) sells 12 NFTs (non-fungible token tokens) of the artwork, which is bombed and then consumed by a mushroom cloud
“I’m just someone who might have some crazy, idealized, spiritual ideas about the oneness of human beings and that we are all one.
‘If you want to hate me for it, hate me for it, but I’ll die on my grave if I don’t budge from that ideal.’
Mr. Seaton sells 12 NFTs (non-fungible token tokens) of the hugging soldiers artwork, with the online version bombarded and then consumed by a mushroom cloud.
The artworks, which include audio from a US nuclear bomb test, can be purchased for 0.08 Ethereum cryptocurrency, or about $124.
He said the artwork was originally going to be painted over when the 12 NFTs were sold, with the proceeds going to the World Beyond War organization.
However, social media users have called for the immediate removal of the mural.
“You could have made art to literally show peace in a different way, but you chose to do something that offends millions,” one wrote.
“This is really appalling. shameful. Unbelievable,’ said a second.
“I get sick just looking at it. This is so incredibly insulting. Wake up Australia!’ a third tweeted.
Chinese-Australian artist Badiucao altered the artwork to instead depict the Russian soldier ‘stabbing back’ the Ukrainian soldier with a blood-soaked knife.
“Here I affix the shameful and offensive mural in Melbourne that shows the true colors of Russia’s brutality and war crimes of its invasion of Ukraine,” he wrote.