On February 6th, the Mayor of Blacktown Australia banned anti-war street artwork by artist Zanny Begg. The artist’s works consisted of life-sized poster cut-outs of a US soldier gripping his M-16 rifle. Each wildly painted artwork incorporated the words, Checkpoint for Weapons of Mass Distraction. Hmm… whatever happened to those weapons of mass destruction we went to war over? The 32-year-old artist intended to post her works around Blacktown, but acting through the city council Mayor Leo Kelly threatened her with arrest.
The council declared the art “inappropriate” and all of Begg’s artworks were “impounded” by the police. The artist is associated with the Blacktown Arts Center, which the Mayor has targeted in the past. Last November the good Mayor cancelled an exhibit entitled Guerilla Art because he said one of the artworks planned for exhibition “discredited the council.” Now word has it that state and federal funding to the Blacktown Art Center will be slashed. Cameron Murphy, Council of Civil Liberties president, said that “It’s a disgraceful interference with the freedom of speech of these artists.”