Another feather in NZ PM’s cap; Australia unveils giant mural with image showing her hugging Muslim woman

Canberra: A giant mural depicting New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embracing a Muslim woman in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack has been unveiled in Australia.

The mural is 25 meters tall or just over 80 feet and shows the two figures towering across a silo in the suburb of Melbourne’s Brunswick. It has been created by street artist Loretta Lizzio after a GoFundMe surpassed its 11,000 Australian dollars goal in under 24 hours, SBS News reported.

In March, 51 people were killed when Australian man Brenton Tarrant stormed two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch and opened fire. He is facing 92 charges — 51 for murder, 40 for attempted murder and one for terrorism — in relation to the killings.

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The iconic image of Ardern wearing a hijab and consoling a member of New Zealand’s Muslim community at Christchurch’s Kilbirnie Mosque has previously been projected on landmarks throughout the world, including on Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Through GoFundMe, organizers raised 11,506 Australian dollars (about $7,920) which covered art supplies, along with costs to fly artist Lizzio to Melbourne and lodge her family while she was painting.

After clearing the funding goal in a single day, the organizers said they donated the extra funds to a Christchurch victims fund in New Zealand.

The campaign organizers wrote that the image of Adhern wearing a hijab and embracing the woman had “become a beacon of tolerance, love and peace in these divisive times”.

They said they wanted “this message, this moment in time, remembered. We want to learn from it, we want it to hold us up, to strengthen us”.

But for depicting a foreign leader in an Australian town, the mural generated pushback from nearly 15,000 people who signed a petition to stop the painting and put up something Melbourne-related instead.


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