By World BEYOND War, September 15, 2022
As we’ve previously reported, and as has been reported in media outlets around the world, a talented artist in Melbourne, Australia, has been in the news for painting a mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging — and then for taking it down because people were offended. The artist, Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton, is raising funds for our organization, World BEYOND War, including by selling these NFTs.
We have been in touch with Seaton and thanked him, and gained his permission (and high resolution images) to rent billboards with the image, to sell yard signs with the image, to ask muralists to reproduce it, and generally to spread it around (with credit to Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton).
We are also looking into ways to project this image onto buildings — ideas are welcome.
So please share this on Facebook, and this on Twitter, and generally use these images:
Square PNG: 4933 pixels, 800 pixels.
Horizontal PNG: 6600 pixels, 800 pixels.
Please buy and distribute these yard signs:
And please donate here to put up billboards (we’re going to try for Brussels, Moscow, and Washington) that might look like this:
Here is the artwork on Seaton’s website. The website says: “Peace before Pieces: Mural painted on Kingsway close to the Melbourne CBD. Focusing on a peaceful resolution between the Ukraine and Russia. Sooner or later the continued escalation of conflicts created by Politicians will be the death of our beloved planet.” We couldn’t agree more.
Our interest is not in offending anyone. We believe that even in the depths of misery, despair, anger, and revenge people are sometimes capable of imagining a better way. We’re aware that soldiers try to kill their enemies, not hug them. We’re aware that each side believes that all the evil is commited by the other side. We’re aware that each side typically believes total triumph is eternally imminent. But we believe that wars must end with the making of peace and that the sooner this is done the better. We believe that reconciliation is something to aspire to, and that it is tragic to find ourselves in a world in which even picturing it is deemed — not just unliklely, but — somehow offensive.
SBS News: “‘Utterly offensive’: Australia’s Ukrainian community furious over mural of Russian soldier embrace”
The Guardian: “Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia calls for removal of ‘offensive’ mural of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers”
Sydney Morning Herald: “Artist to paint over ‘utterly offensive’ Melbourne mural after Ukrainian community anger”
The Independent: “Australian artist takes down mural of hugging Ukraine and Russia soldiers after huge backlash”
Sky News: “Melbourne mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging painted over after backlash”
Newsweek: “Artist Defends ‘Offensive’ Mural of Ukrainian and Russian Troops Hugging”
The Telegraph: “Other wars: Editorial on Peter Seaton’s anti-war mural & its repercussion”
Daily Mail: “Artist is slammed over ‘utterly offensive’ mural of a Ukrainian soldier hugging a Russian in Melbourne – but he insists he’s done nothing wrong”
BBC: “Australian artist removes Ukraine and Russia mural after backlash”
9 News: “Melbourne mural criticised as ‘utterly offensive’ to Ukrainians”
RT: “Aussie artist pressured to paint over peace mural”
Der Spiegel: “Australischer Künstler übermalt eigenes Wandbild – nach Protesten”
News: “Melbourne mural showing Ukrainian, Russian soldiers hugging ‘utterly offensive’”
Sydney Morning Herald: “Melbourne artist removes mural depicting Russian and Ukrainian soldiers’ hug”
Yahoo: “Australian artist removes mural depicting Russian and Ukrainian soldiers hugging”
Evening Standard: “Australian artist removes mural depicting Russian and Ukrainian soldiers hugging”
We also like this mural of Ukrainian and Russian women hugging and crying, done by an Italian artist for International Women’s Day and sent to us by Barbara Wien:
The artist is the early warning system of any culture.
Peace actions invigorate more peace actions .
It is like teaching —- healthy , healing actions .
The people will respond if they are made aware .
War is a resentment —- a spiritual dis-ease .
So good to see this image as well as the one of the Russian and Ukrainian soldiers.
Hatred only breeds more hatred
Wars can only end with the making of peace. This can start with individual acts of reconciliation.
The soldiers hugging mural is a beautiful depiction of love, so proud it was painted and the image preserved in my home city Melbourne (in spite of revengeful hateful responses).
Greed, self righteous & exaggerated sense of entitlement and hate fuel wars and will kill us all if we don’t drown it out with sharing, respect and love for each other and the planet.
This is not a “conflict” of politicians: Russia is invading Ukraine, and Ukrainian soldiers are dying to protect their sovereign state! Why would they ever reconcile with the enemy that is killing, torturing and raping their people? Leave Ukraine alone and peace will be made.
This image is an insult to the Ukrainian people who are being murdered and tortured by Russians every day. Your actions in this are callous and the image implies an equivalence between the sides which is not true,
Images don’t imply things. Human brains infer things.
It is no accident that the painting was not by a Ukrainian artist, but by a distant, observing Australian . It shows a complete lack of empathy for the one being attacked in trying to equate the pain or love of the two individuals from opposing countries. It IS time to end war, and to end this particular war. I can only see this painting producing more pain for the victims and producing more misunderstanding amongst those of us who are not part of the conflict. It comes off as an extremely unfortunate example of virtue signaling.
The Russian and Ukraneian Soldiers hugging called in me the picture and idea: They are all humans, both sides. They and all of us are Humans, Menschen. And it is possible, as we see in this picture, to live that truth also in situations where war inciters and profiteers of wars would rather see them as enemies.