A brick wall in Melbourne, Australia, has become a battleground for freedom of expression in the city, as a graffiti artist "covered up" his controversial mural of a bikini-clad Hillary Clinton on Monday by painting a burqa over the image.
The controversy started last month when the artist, named Lushsux, painted a mural of U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton dressed in a small bikini with $100 bills tucked inside, The Herald Sun reported. The mural appeared on the outside wall of a store.
This is no longer a wall of a supposed "offensive and near naked" Hillary Clinton, a beautiful Muslim woman. pic.twitter.com/M7Uzr4gqBC— LUSHSUX (@lushsux) August 1, 2016
The store's owner reportedly was out of town, but the person watching over the business said she had no problem with the mural. Still, the Maribyrnong Council determined that it was offensive and demanded it removed.
In response, the artist again grabbed at controversy: he covered Clinton with a black burqa, exposing only her blue eyes. He seemingly tried to preempt the next round of criticism by writing a message next to the modified mural: “If this Muslim woman offends u, u r a bigot, racist, sexist Islamophobe.”
The council appeared unimpressed.
On Tuesday, Lushsux posted a picture on his Twitter account that showed the mural entirely covered with black paint. The caption read, “Looks like the council wins.”
Looks like the council wins. GG pic.twitter.com/oHtynW8v2Q— LUSHSUX (@lushsux) August 2, 2016
Lushsux has a history of painting provocative murals. In one, he painted a seductive-looking Melania Trump naked except for two images of Donald Trump covering her breasts. Lushsux coyly captioned the image on Twitter: "Decided to censor my work now as not to cause any offense."
His work has been compared and contrasted with other popular graffiti artists, including Banksy. Lushsux often takes on pop culture, painting figures like Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.