by ALEC SMART
Scott Marsh, satirical wall mural artist, has unveiled another topical painting in central Sydney mocking the federal coal-ition government and their mining and media connections.
On 18 May Marsh shared his colourful new piece, titled Ivory Tower, on social media, which features a few familiar scenes from Australia’s summer of Apocalyptic bushfires. Above the dramatic fire-scape of fleeing fauna and a burning home, huddled in an ivory stone tower, are seven key politicians, industrialists and media figures central to fossil fuel extraction and climate change denial in Australia.
In his Facebook and Instagram posts to promote his new artwork, Marsh explained: “People talk about the ‘Coal Lobby’. Our government is the coal lobby. The Coalition, coal industry and conservative media are one intertwined beast. As long as we have a coalition government we will have zero meaningful climate change policy.”
Protected from the raging bushfires below on their white castle wall tower are: Prime Minister Scott Morrison, wearing a Hawaiian flower garland from his notoriously ill-timed holiday, he sips a cocktail whilst shaking the hand of mining agnate Clive Palmer, who is clutching a splitting bag of banknotes; disgraced former Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, gulps a beer; shock-jock radio DJ Alan Jones raises his fingers and mock-quotes “science”; mining billionaire Gina Reinhardt, a string of pearls around her neck, grips a glass of champagne; reactionary commentator Andrew Bolt holds a copy of the Herald Sun newspaper featuring the headline ‘Warming is Good for Us’; and above them all publishing tycoon Rupert Murdoch, extending a ringed little finger in a Masonic handshake, glowers over all.
The mural is located at the corner of Grafton and Shepherd streets in the inner-city suburb of Chippendale, a neighbourhood that’s become synonymous with Marsh’s large and controversial paintings, where several decorate the ends of terraced houses.
Marsh’s murals court controversy that attract praise and condemnation in equal measures, depending on whom they target. Marsh artwork has frequently featured in City Hub and one of his murals of cheeky sign-wearer Danny Lim graced the cover of our ‘Best of Sydney 2019’ edition.
During the Nov 217 national plebiscite on Same-Sex marriage, two of Marsh’s murals, one mocking the disgraced Archbishop George Pell (who had his hands down the tight swimwear of his most ardent admirer, former Prime Minister Tony Abbot), the other praising gay icon George Michael (who featured as a saint with a halo), were attacked by opponents.
Christians from fundamentalist group Christian Lives Matter, paint-bombed Marsh’s murals, irreparably damaging them in a protest to oppose the right for same-sex couples to marry.
In January 2020, one of Marsh’s paintings appeared, along with 77 others, in a guerrilla poster event dubbed ‘Brandalism’. On 30 Jan, a group of 20 activists subverted the mass-message medium of bus shelter advertising in selected suburbs of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Wearing fluoro orange vests, the pranksters opened the sealed glass frames for advertising posters and replaced them with their substitute prints with themes linking fossil fuels, climate change and destructive bushfires.
The publicity stunt was done to draw attention to the Australian Government’s apparent lack of concern for global climate change and its effects, in what the ‘subvertisers’ described as “the nation’s largest unsanctioned outdoor art exhibition.”
Marsh explained the inspiration for his latest work, The Ivory Tower, was a Greenpeace Australia Pacific documentary film, Dirty Power: Dirty Country.
City Hub‘s previous coverage of Scott Marsh: http://cityhubsydney.com.au/?s=scott+marsh