Melbourne artist Peter Seaton slammed for ‘offensive’ mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers
A Melbourne street artist has been criticized for a ‘utterly offensive’ mural of a Ukrainian and Russian soldier in a close embrace.
Artist Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton’s controversial work ‘Peace before Pieces’ quickly attracted 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 the Russian invasion of their homeland.
A Melbourne street artist has been criticized for a ‘utterly offensive’ mural of a Ukrainian and Russian soldier in a close embrace (pictured)
Outraged social media users took to Twitter to join the pile after Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko condemned the artwork (pictured)
Outraged social media users took to Twitter to join the pile after Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko condemned the artwork.
“A recently unveiled mural depicting an RU and a UA soldier hugging each other is downright offensive to all Ukrainians,” the ambassador tweeted on Saturday night.
“The painter has no idea about the RU invasion of Ukraine and it is disappointing to see this happening without consulting the Ukrainian community in Melbourne.”
Myroshnychenko said the mural created “a sense of false equality between the victim and the aggressor” and asked for it to be removed immediately.
Seaton uploaded an Instagram video on Sunday in which he apologized to the Ukrainian people and said his intention had been to promote peace.
Art 4 Ukraine Australia said in a statement that it had warned the artist in the consultation phase that the mural would be offensive to Ukrainians.
The group said Mr Seaton decided to go ahead with the artwork despite his “plea for reason” and on Sunday the artist asked for the Russian and Ukrainian flags to be removed to instead “depict an image that supports peace worldwide.” .
In response, the artist said he had initially received positive feedback, but was warned over time that the artwork could be perceived negatively.
“I had to stand behind a message of peace, that’s what I’m always for,” he said.
Seaton posted an Instagram video on Sunday in which he apologized to the Ukrainian people and said his intention was to promote peace.
He thanked people for their “interest” in his work and said he had tried to get the message across that people are essentially one unified group.
“This work does not excuse the aggression that the Russians have continued and their heinous 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 there was no place in 2022.
“I have no ties to Russian people, media or anything,” he said.
Mr Seaton (pictured) sells 12 NFTs (non-fungible token tokens) of the artwork that is bombed and then consumed by a mushroom cloud
“I’m purely someone who might have some crazy, idealized, spiritual ideas around the unity of people and that we are all one.
“If you want to hate me for that, then hate me for that, but I’ll die on my grave without deviating from that ideal.”
Mr Seaton sells 12 NFTs (non-fungible token tokens) of the artwork of hugging soldiers, bombing the online version and then being consumed by a mushroom cloud.
The artworks, which include audio from a US nuclear bomb test, can be purchased for 0.08 from the cryptocurrency Ethereum, or about $124.
He said the artwork would originally be painted over when the 12 NFTs were sold and the proceeds donated to the World Beyond War organization.
However, social media users have called for the mural’s immediate removal.
“You could have made art literally any other way to show peace, but you’ve decided to do something that offends millions,” one wrote.
‘That’s really outrageous. Shameful. Unbelievable,’ said a second.
“I get sick of this just looking at it. This is so incredibly insulting. Wake up Australia!’ a third tweeted.
Sino-Australian artist Badiucao altered the artwork to instead depict the Russian soldier “stabbing back” the Ukrainian soldier with a blood-soaked knife.
“Here I fix the outrageous and offensive Melbourne mural depicting the true face of Russia’s brutality and war crimes of its invasion of Ukraine,” he wrote.