Artist of Melbourne mural of Jacinda Ardern hits back at critics

The artist of the giant Jacinda Ardern mural paints on a Melbourne silo has hit back at its critics.

On Wednesday, a now iconic image of Ardern in a hijab embracing a Muslim woman in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks was unveiled on the side of a Melborune silo.

Artist Loretta Lizzio hopes that Ardern likes the mural, but it wasn't her goal.

She was invited to paint the massive piece in hope it would become a beacon of tolerance and love. She was happy to do it for free and the silo's owners gave her permission.

"We want this message, this moment in time, remembered. We want to learn from it, we want it to 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," a GoFundMe page for the piece said.

The mural.
The mural. Photo credit: Getty

More than $11,000 was raised for Lizzio to afford the equipment needed, but throughout the creation process it was the target of criticism.

One petition called for the project to be scrapped and received thousands of signatures. The main complaint was that it was irrelevant to Australia. Others said the money raised could have helped the homeless.

Some posts on social media criticised the mural for supporting Ardern's decision to don a hijab while others said attacks on Christians didn't get the same level of attention.

But in an interview with, an exhausted Lizzio, who used more than 25 litres of paint to complete the art, said it was all worth it.

"I thought about how genuine Jacinda looked. I love painting strong female figures so (when I was approached for this) I instantly thought, 'Yes!," she told

Her response to people complaining that the mural isn't related to Australia is simple.

"It's like, f***. What is wrong with you people?! It was an Australian man [the alleged Christchurch shooter] that did this," she said.

"People say to me, 'What about Sri Lanka?' Or, 'What about the Christians? Where's their mural.' Well, go crowdfund for it."

The process included studying the colours and shades on the individual's faces and having to deal with rain.