Image of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to grace Melbourne street silo

Artist's impression of the mural.
Artist's impression of the mural. Photo credit: Go Fund Me / Tamara Veltre

An image of Jacinda Ardern hugging a woman will be painted on a street silo in Melbourne as a symbol of unity after the Christchurch terror attack. 

Artist Loretta Lizzio has been invited to paint the image on a Tinning St silo in the Australian city, which stands 75 feet tall and is a landmark on the Brunswick skyline. 

Tamara Veltre, one of the mural organisers, said the image of Ardern wearing a hijab has "become a beacon of tolerance, love and peace in these divisive times".

More than AU$11,000 (NZ$11,750) has been crowdfunded in just over a day for the mural. And the silo owner, described as a "hard working local", has given permission for the artwork. 

The image of the Prime Minister will have the Arabic word for 'peace' written underneath. Veltre said she wants people to "learn from it" and that she hopes it will "hold us up, to strengthen us". 

"We want everyone to know we are them, that they are us and, that we are, and always will be, stronger together."

Ardern's leadership during the aftermath of the March 15 shooting has been widely praised. The same image of her hugging a woman was projected onto the world's tallest building last month in Dubai in a show of respect. 

The Prime Minister has since made it into Time magazine's 100 most influential people for the second time, and was labelled the world's second best leader, over her handling of the Christchurch attack which left 50 people dead. 

Veltre said AU$11,000 was needed to make the mural happen, and that target was met in just over a day. The remaining money will be sent to the Christchurch Shooting Victims' Fund, she said. 

The donations will go towards paying for the artist's requirements, such as a cherry picker to reach the silo. Donations of paint and electrical equipment have been promised by companies including Taubmans and BREC Electrical. 

"Lizzio is a visionary artist, a woman of strength and creative ambition. Her large-scale works can be found on walls all over the world, from London to Vancouver and Melbourne. We're incredibly lucky to have her."

The mural is planned to be finished by May 30. 


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