80-foot mural of New Zealand’s prime minister revealed
An artist in Australia has just revealed a new mural depicting New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugging the relative of a victim in the mass shootings in March at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The mural shows the two figures towering across a silo in the suburb of Brunswick, on the northern edge of Melbourne, Australia. It’s 25 meters tall, or just over 80 feet, according to SBS News.
The photo of Ardern embracing a woman in a hijab at Christchurch’s Kilbirnie Mosque has previously been projected on landmarks throughout the world, including on Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Through GoFundMe, organizers raised 11,506 Australian dollars (about $7,920 USD) which covered art supplies, along with costs to fly artist Loretta Lizzio to Melbourne and lodge her family while she was painting. After clearing their $11,000 goal in a single day, the organizers said they donated the extra funds to a Christchurch victims fund in New Zealand.
The campaign organizers wrote that the image of Ardern wearing a hijab and embracing the woman had “become a beacon of tolerance, love and peace in these divisive times.” They said they wanted “this message, this moment in time, remembered. We want to learn from it, we want it to hold us up, to strengthen us.”
The donations came from the public and the mural is on a privately owned land. But in depicting a foreign leader in an Australian town, the mural generated pushback from nearly 15,000 who signed a Change.org petition to stop the painting and put up something Melbourne-related instead.
Lizzio has painted murals and exhibited her artwork around the world, including in the US, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands, her website says.
Posting on Instagram, Lizzio credited photographer Hagen Hopkins for “his incredible photograph to reference from,” offering him a “massive thank you.”
She told CNN affiliate 7 News the mural “celebrates a moment of unity and compassion.”
A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s name.