Australian creative activist group Bushfire Brandalism replaces ads with protest posters
41 creatives have taken down 78 adverts around Australia and put up their own guerrilla campaigns demanding better government action after the devastating fires and drought.
- Jenny Brewer
- 4 February 2020
Over the weekend, a group of 41 artists, illustrators and graphic designers in Australia organised a multi-city brandalism campaign in reaction to the devastating bush fires and drought. Self-penned “the nation’s largest unsanctioned art campaign,” Bushfire Brandalism saw its artists take down 78 advertising posters at bus stops around the cities in an act of protest, and replace them with images and messages pertaining to the country’s disasters, and their feelings of “hopelessness and powerlessness” around the government’s response.
“As a collective group of Australian artists, we have been driven to reclaim public advertising space with posters speaking to the Australian government’s inaction on climate change and the devastating bushfires,” the group says in a statement. “We do not accept that this situation is ‘business as usual’. We are making these issues visible in our public spaces and in our media; areas monopolised by entities maintaining conservative climate denial agendas. If the newspapers won’t print the story, we will!”
The latter part of the statement relates to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which dominates the media landscape in Australia, owning a large proportion of newspaper titles in the country.
The posters depict the country’s suffering wildlife, celebrate its firefighters, parody its political figures and demand government action regarding the climate crisis, aiming to drum up further public response to put pressure on the powers that be. QR codes on the posters link to bushfire-related charities of each artist’s choice.
The posters were installed by members of the activist group in broad daylight, wearing high vis vests, yet – as is the case with many similar guerrilla campaigns – only a few still remain in place.
Artists include Georgia Hill, Tom Gerrard, Sarah McCloskey, Amok Island, Andrew J Steel, Blends, Callum Preston, Cam Scale, Damien Mitchell, Dani Hair, Dvate, E.L.K, Ed Whitfield, Fikaris, Fintan Magee, Heesco, Jeswri, Ghostpatrol, Leans, Lluis fuzzhound, Lotte Smith, Lucy Lucy, Makatron, Michael Langenegger, Peter Breen, The Workers Art Collective, Stanislava Pinchuk, The Lazy Edwin, Thomas Bell, Tom Civil, WordPlay Studio and Peter Breen.
Poster by Callum Preston. Photo by Adam Scarf.