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This Guerilla Street Art Exhibition Is Targeting Australia’s Inaction On Climate Change

Art

A collective of 41 local artists last week launched Bushfire Brandalism, an unauthorised advertising campaign across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane’s central business districts. Ad boards across the cities were stripped of their posters overnight, and replaced with custom works by each local artist, challenging and emphasising the Australian government’s inaction on climate change.

Call it art, vandalism or an intervention, actions speak louder than words!

4th February, 2020

From left. Posters by Lotte Smith, Stanislava Pinchuk and The Lazy Edwin.

Image by Adam Scarf. Poster by Fuzzhead.

From left. Posters by Ghostpatrol, Leans and Fuzzhound.

Image by Luke Shirlaw. Posters by anonymous artists.

From left. Posters by anonymous artist, Workers Art Collective and Wordplay Studio.

Poster by Makatron. Image by Adam Scarf.

Sasha Gattermayr
Tuesday 4th February 2020

‘Beyond bushfires, the intervention speaks more broadly to the use of conventional advertising space in Australia.’

The artists who launched it are calling it Australia’s ‘largest unsanctioned outdoor art exhibition’. Over the last week, 78 advertising boards in public spaces like bus shelters, tram stops and information booths in central business hubs were stripped of their paid advertising posters and replaced with bespoke artist renderings calling for ‘Real climate action now’. The guerrilla art campaign was launched by a collective of 41 Australian artists, and is ‘a direct reaction to the feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness experienced nationwide in recent weeks’.

Most of the posters allude to Australian cultural products, niche idioms and iconic images. A sooty Blinky Bill dashes from a looming blaze, a mural of Scott Morrison drinking cocktails in Hawaii is sprayed across a brick façade, and a Caramello Koala melts in the heat. By calling on Australian nationalism, and implying the destruction of these cultural icons, the posters reference a brand of rhetoric politicians have employed in their climate change denialism.

The collective particularly object to the country’s newspaper monopoly, which they accuse of misrepresenting climate science. ‘Beyond bushfires, the intervention speaks more broadly to the use of conventional advertising space in Australia’ they said in a statement.

With a combined reach of 700,000 on social media, the artists hope to use their own platforms to ‘question the position of the media landscape in Australia, and its coverage of issues concerning climate change’ on a more direct level. No dilution of the message through mainstream media outlets can occur when the media is your own.

Each poster holds a QR code which, once scanned by a phone camera, directs the user to one of 30 environmental charities and non government organisations including the World Wildlife Organisation and Bush Heritage Australia.

Participating Artists include Georgia Hill, Tom Gerrard, Sarah McCloskey, Amok Island, Andrew J Steel, Blends, Callum Preston, Cam Scale, Damien Mitchell, Dani Hair, DVATE, E.L.K, Ed Whitfield, FIKARIS, Fintan Magee, HEESCO, JESWRI, Ghostpatrol, Leans, Lluis fuzzhound, Lotte Smith, Lucy Lucy, Makatron, Michael Langenegger, Peter Breen, The Workers Art Collective, Stanislava Pinchuk, The Lazy Edwin, Thomas Bell, Tom Civil, WordPlay Studio, Peter Breen and many more artists and creative professionals who have chosen to remain anonymous.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net