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Bushfire Brandalism: Incredible bushfire art being removed from Aussie bus stops

Aussie bus stops have been hijacked by artists for a guerilla bushfire campaign. The campaign, which is called #BushfireBrandalism, is popping up in suburbs across Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

Yet like many great things in Australia, the inspiring art movement is already being shut down.

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A new #BushfireBrandalism art campaign is underway, and all it took was some conviction, compassion, and a couple of hi-vis vests.

Last Thursday the activist artists took to the streets to remove the usual posters displayed in the bus shelters. Donning a couple of hi-vis vests, the artists replaced advertising posters with political artworks protesting the Morrison government’s treatment of the bushfire crisis. The collective has labelled it “the nation’s largest unsanctioned outdoor art exhibition.” 

One of the artists behind the movement is well-known Sydney artist Scott Marsh, who has been recognised internationally for his political murals. Marsh’s contribution to the campaign was a portrait of Scott Morrison with the words “climate denial” written across his forehead.

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Image by Adam Scarf.

There are 41 artists in total involved in the project, including Georgia Hill, Tom Gerrard, Sarah McCloskey, Ghostpatrol, Callum Preston, and E.L.K, plus even more anonymous artists.

Yet the sad reality is that as quickly as the posters are being installed, they are being taken down. According to the collective, they put up 78 posters last week, but now only a few remain.

The collective launched three weeks ago, prompted by a group chat of artists on Instagram. The members were united by their frustration at what they perceived to be biased coverage of bushfire news in the Murdoch press.

“It felt like taking over public space was an appropriate angle to tackle it,” said one organiser. “There was a lot of discussion about the divided attitudes and experiences of people living in the city versus the regional areas – but we were limited in time and resources, and also those type of ‘adshell’ spaces only really exist in the city centre.” 

March’s murals are often defaced or painted over yet they nevertheless leave their mark. Marsh was the artist behind the “Merry Crisis” Scott Morrison mural, which only lasted for three days. Another mural of Cardinal George Pell and Tony Abbott, titled “A Happy Ending” was painted over after only 24 hours, after it was labelled as “pornography”.

Speaking on the bushfire crisis, Marsh said: “It’s really hit home for me.”

“I’m frustrated with the lack of action. I got distracted for a while, but you can smell it in the air that now is the time to really push on climate change. If nothing happens now, it’s never going to fucking happen.”

People all over the world have shown there support for the bushfire crisis in Australia, including this 6-year-old American girl who raised money by creating tiny koalas.

Check out a video on the #BushfireBrandalism movement posted by Marsh, below.