- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 30, 2016

A mural depicting Hillary Clinton in a revealing stars-and-stripes swimsuit has caused a commotion in the Australia suburb of Footscray near Melbourne.

The mural is the work of a street artist known as Lushsux and was painted on the outside of a local business with the permission of its owner. Local officials are finding it objectionable, however, and have asked law enforcement to intervene.

“We believe it is offensive because of the depiction of a near-naked woman, not on the basis of disrespect to Hillary Clinton, in accordance with the Graffiti Prevention Act 2007,” Stephen Wall, the chief executive of the Maribyrnong Council, told Fairfax Media on Friday.

“I’m not one for censorship of the arts but whether it’s Hillary or any woman, I find it highly offensive: highly sexualized and it’s inappropriate,” said another council member, Sarah Carter.

Local politicians are now pushing for the mural’s removal, but are waiting for police to determine whether or not the work of art is considered offensive in the eyes of the law. If authorities agree, then the building’s owner will be issued a Notice to Remove and be ordered to scrub the offending artwork off the building’s exterior within 10 days.

Pending the police’s decision, the artist responsible told Fairfax Media that the effort indicates a “clear case of an out-of-control council.”

“They seem hell bent on trying to screw over people,” said the artist.

Lushsux has lashed out at attempts to have the painting removed as “pathetic,” and told Melbourne’s 3AW radio that he’s considering a similar mural of Mrs. Clinton’s Republican rival for their next work of art.

“I might paint a big mural of Trump in similar style,” the artist said.

Speaking to The Age, Lushsux floated another possibility: re-touching his mural of Mrs. Clinton so that the Democratic candidate for president resembles a “beautiful Muslim woman.”

“No one could be offended by that,” the artist told The Age. “If you were, you would be a racist, bigot, Islamophobic and xenophobic.”

“I think it’s most likely the best way to fix the problem with the council, because it would not know what to do,” they added.

At least one council member so far appears to be in favor of the artist’s “beautiful Muslim woman” proposal.

Ms. Carter told The Age that she thought repainting the currently existing “grubby” mural suggested by the artist was “a lovely idea,” but didn’t end the discussion there.

“Here’s hoping the beautiful Muslim woman isn’t holding a cross that is in flames,” the council member quipped.

“We have to be very careful about censorship because at the end of the day … where is the line drawn? she asked The Age. “There’s a fine line between becoming art critics or whether it is actually offensive.”

With respect to the portrait of the nearly nude Democratic candidate for president, Ms. Carter said she found it “pretty tacky,” but wasn’t sure how her colleagues would go about a possible repainting.

“Obviously, councillors will have opinions and I expect it [the council] would be divided because we do pride ourselves on being an artsy, edgy city,” she said. 

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