Three large posters removed from an outdoor exhibition in the Biennale of Australian Art are believed to have been removed by political activitists.
The three heavy posters were installed on trees at the western end of Lake Wendouree as part of a series called We Make a Stand, highlighting the plight of refugees, and vanished some time between 5pm Wednesday and early Saturday.
Artist and activist Wendy Bolger said she was disturbed to find the artworks missing when she arrived to help set up a children’s art event at the site on Saturday morning.
It’s not the first time the posters have been targeted since being installed as part of the BOAA Lakeside Sculpture Walk. In a previous attack the posters were cut down and dropped on the ground, but now they have been taken.
“These banners are quite bulky because they have a hard plastic mesh backing to keep them off the trees and they don’t roll up very well,” Ms Bolger said.
“They’d have to have a reasonably sized vehicle so it’s obviously quite a planned move … but we don’t know if it’s the same people or different people.”
Ms Bolger said she believed the attack was “a political statement rather than an art statement” and she used her art to bring attention to the plight of refugees in a creative way.
She is a member of Ballarat Rural Australians for Refugees and the Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children and has been using her art to raise awareness of the issues surrounding refugees and offshore detention within the community.
“We want to bring these issues to the forefront, we want to put pressure on the government to change their views on how they treat people looking for asylum.”
BOAA director Julie Collins said most of the artworks installed around the lake had been well cared for.
“I think the damage that has happened to Wendy’s pieces is politically driven rather than standard vandalism,” Ms Collins said.
“Art activism is an important medium and not all art is there to make people feel warm and fuzzy inside - it’s there to challenge people and to talk about issues. Artists are social commentators and they hold up a mirror to society.”
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