'Love won': vandalised George Michael mural in Sydney gets a makeover

Man charged with defacing artwork in Erskineville as community rallies to add its own positive messages

A mural depicting the late singer George Michael as a saint has been defaced in Sydney by a man claiming to be defending his religion.

The 23-year-old man, who was arrested by New South Wales police and charged with graffiti offences, was captured on film covering the mural with black paint.

“I’m defending my religion, that’s exactly what I’m doing,” he said.

The artwork by Scott Marsh, titled St George, depicts the Wham! singer and gay rights activist in the style of a Christian saint and was created after his death in December last year.

‘TOO LATE LOVE WON’. The vandalised George Michael mural in Newtown. Via a FB friend. 💕🏳️‍🌈💪💪🏻💪🏼💪🏽💪🏾💪🏿 pic.twitter.com/1S6HNgQeaE

— Paul Kidd (@paulkidd) November 18, 2017

On Saturday, days after Australia’s historic yes vote in the national marriage law postal survey, police arrested the man on Bray Street in Erskineville as he began painting over the mural, despite the protests of residents.


Respectful debate pic.twitter.com/uq5LXqyTpa

— Edmund Iffland (@edmundiffland) November 18, 2017

By Sunday, residents had written pro-marriage equality messages on the defaced mural.

“Too late, love won,” said one.

“No to hatred and intolerance,” said another.

Saturday’s alleged vandalism comes after the same mural was defaced on Friday by a different man, wearing a shirt from stone masonry company Azztek Stone.

Azztek Stone later released a statement that it had stood him down and offered to pay for the artwork to be returned to its original condition. “We strongly and vigorously condemn the action taken by one of our employees,” it said. “We apologise for any offence or harm the irresponsible actions of our employee might have caused.”

Another mural painted by Marsh, which depicted former prime minister Tony Abbott with his hand down the pants of Catholic cardinal George Pell, was defaced and painted over on Thursday after being finished the previous day.

Didn't even last a day #marriageequality #lovewins #newtown

A post shared by Nicholas McCallum (@nkmccallum) on

Many supporters of the George Michael mural pointed out it was not as offensive or sexually explicit, and had been in place since January and before the same-sex marriage postal survey.

Now people are attacking the George Michael mural in Newtown, an entirely respectful and beautiful work of art

Man, homophobes are SO MAD about the marriage survey result (and need to find new hobbies) https://t.co/x38XyRJreU

— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) November 18, 2017

The 23-year-old man was issued a court attendance notice and will attend Downing centre local court on 7 December.

Contributor

Naaman Zhou

The GuardianTramp

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