Following a reaction from the public, an Australian artist has painted over a street painting depicting Russian and Ukrainian soldiers hugging.
According to its artist, Peter Seaton, the Melbourne piece called for a “peaceful conclusion” between the two nations.
However, others have linked the three-story artwork to Russian propaganda.
Seaton, who goes by the moniker CTO, has apologised for his work, calling it “clumsy” and acknowledging that he “didn’t believe it would be so poorly received.”
Thousands of Ukrainians have been killed since the Russian invasion in February, and Russian army members have been accused of war crimes.
The piece, titled Peace Before Pieces, was criticised for creating a false moral comparison between the two sides.
What would people think if a mural showed a rapist and a victim cuddling? Stefan Romaniw, the co-chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations, made a statement.
The notion that “all we need is peace” is false, and trying to be “even-handed” in this situation only supports evil.
Vasyl Myroshnychenko, the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, referred to it as “utterly disrespectful to all Ukrainians.”
A group of artists, known as Art4Ukraine Australia, claimed that they had expressed concerns about the piece of art before it was even begun and were astounded to see it finished.
Seaton claimed to have worked past midnight on Sunday (13:00 GMT) to paint over the mural.
“I spent $2,000 to $3,000 on the mural. If I had thought it would hurt people, I wouldn’t have spent 10 days doing it. “ Later on Monday, he spoke with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
He nevertheless defended his efforts, stating that “a lot of individuals did grasp the message” and that he still thought it had a “net advantage.”
This is not how he wanted to make his work, he added, and “there’s certainly a contingent of individuals that believe that this is going to be painful and maybe traumatising.”
Seaton’s artwork is being sold as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, by Seaton, who said he will donate the proceeds to charity.