Scott Marsh unveiled the mural in Chippendale in inner Sydney on Christmas Eve, depicting Scott Morrison in a Hawaiian shirt, draped in a frangipani lei holding a cocktail and wearing a Santa hat. A speech bubble bore the slogan, “Merry crisis”.
Marsh told news.com.au he’s not sure who was responsible for painting over the mural. He said he’d painted a number of murals in the area without issue, on the exterior walls of The Lord Gladstone pub.
“People liked (the mural) immediately,” Marsh said. The artist released T-shirts bearing the same Hawaiian-themed print of the prime minister, and over the last four days has made more than $15,000 in sales.
Marsh said he will donate all the funds to the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Marsh said he wasn’t sure if the man seen painting over the mural with a roller was a local resident, a concerned citizen or a council worker.
He painted the mural on Christmas Eve, following intensifying criticism of the Prime Minister, after he returned from a short family holiday to Hawaii.
Marsh said the response to the mural had been overwhelmingly positive, and among the thousands of comments he’d received, he had only come across one or two that were negative.
“Heading out to Hawaii when the country is literally on fire is probably not a really great move in terms of leadership. I think public sentiment around that is all pretty unified,” Marsh told AAP on Tuesday.
Mr Morrison touched down in Sydney last Saturday evening and returned to work on Sunday, admitting he may have erred in visiting Hawaii at that time. Mr Morrison said to the Australians he had upset by being away during the latest bushfire emergency: “I apologise for that.”
Marsh is a political artist who has painted a number of high-profile murals around Sydney. In the past year he’s depicted Australian figures including Israel Folau, Will “Egg Boy” Connolly, and Bob Hawke.
In previous years he’s painted other murals that have come under fire from some members of the public, including a large mural of George Michael, unveiled while Australia debated the gay marriage plebiscite.
Marsh’s mural of Michael, in inner west Sydney, was repeatedly defaced until it was finally painted black by an unknown person.
Marsh recently won GQ’s award for the 2019 Agenda Setter of the Year.
News.com.au contacted The Lord Gladstone for a comment but did not immediately receive a response.