Queen Elizabeth’s mural in Sydney’s inner west painted over with Aboriginal flags

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The street art piece near Sydenham train station was painted by British artist Stuart Sale following the late monarch’s death earlier this month.

Pictures of the mural taken on Thursday morning – Australia’s National Day of Mourning for the Queen – show it has been painted over in the colors of the Aboriginal flag.

A mural in Sydenham of Queen Elizabeth II painted over with the Aboriginal flag
A mural in Sydenham of a young Queen Elizabeth II has been painted over with the colors of the Aboriginal flag. (Wolter Peeters/SMH)

The painting had previously been defaced with what was described as a “terrible” epithet, which was later cleared by the public.

“It kind of belongs to the people, and that’s why I’m torn,” he shared Herald.

“I painted this and gave it to the street.”

The reaction to Elizabeth II’s passing by many First Nations people was not always one of sadness. Instead, it involved critique and reflection on the impact and legacy of British colonialism in Australia.

A street mural of Queen Elizabeth II on Sydenham Road
The street art piece near Sydenham train station was painted by British artist Stuart Sale. (Dean Sewell/SMH)

These varied responses were acknowledged by Governor-General David Hurley during Thursday morning’s national commemoration in Canberra.

“Given the unifying role Her Majesty played, I will acknowledge that her passing has prompted mixed reactions from some in our community,” he said.

“I am conscious of respecting that many First Nations Australians shaped by colonial history have brought a journey of reconciliation. It is a journey we as a nation must complete.”

London-born Sale told SMH he is not a “massive royalist” and has said in the past that he is generally not a political artist. Many of his murals have included pop culture references and characters.

Buckingham Palace staff pay their respects

However, he was responsible for a 2015 painting of two Indigenous boys standing next to an Aboriginal flag at half-mast, as well as a memorial for George Floyd in 2020.

“I need to feel very strongly about a subject to engage in the conversation that I did with these two works,” he shared Neighborhood media.

“I’m not a social or political artist as such and only pipe up if I’m upset about something.

“Having said that, I don’t actually say much as I have a hard time putting my thoughts or feelings onto a page or even saying them. I communicate better visually I think so a poignant piece of art can say a thousand words as the two pieces do for obvious reasons.”

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