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Protesters deface priceless Australian painting in demonstration against Woodside

A 134-year-old piece of Australian art history has been defaced in a protest against one of the nation’s largest energy companies.

Frederick McCubbin’s Down on His Luck’ was targeted by two protesters at the Art Gallery of Western Australia on Thursday.

Ceramic artist and illustrator Joana Partyka held a stencil over the canvas and sprayed the logo of Woodside Energy in yellow over the 1889 oil painting.

The gallery says the painting was covered by perspex acrylic and was undamaged in the incident.

Camera IconArtist Joana Partyka defaced ‘Down on His Luck’ at the Art Gallery of Western Australia on Thursday morning. Credit: Supplied

Ballardong Noongar man Desmond Blurton also unfurled an Aboriginal flag on the floor of the gallery, while Ms Partyka glued her hand to a wall.

A WA Police spokesperson said officers arrested a 37-year-old woman at the scene.

She is assisting police with their inquiries.

The pair were protesting Woodside Burrup Hub development, saying it “risks destroying culture and climate with toxic emissions”.

Artist Joana Partyka and Ballardong Noongar man Desmond Blurton
Camera IconArtist Joana Partyka and Ballardong Noongar man Desmond Blurton protesting against Woodside’s Burrup Hub on Thursday. Credit: Supplied

The Burrup Hub project aims to link the Scarborough gas field, northwest of Exmouth on the coast of WA’s Pilbara region, to its onshore Pluto LNG processing plant via a 430km pipeline.

Activists are concerned the project will pollute the region, generate an extreme amount of emissions and risk damaging the heritage-listed Murujuga rock art on the Burrup Peninsula, after which the Hub is named.

In a statement, Ms Partyka claimed the Burrup Hub will emit six billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2070.

<img src=”https://cue.wanews.com.au/webservice/thumbnail/article/9498887″ id=”_5787f7f7-8011-4b4f-92ac-4cb50c90e558″ capiid=”2be0e8d37769506d7a0069a7bda28b82″ alt=”JULY 2000 : Frederick (Fred) McCubbin’s painting “Down on his luck (1889)” –  The Wesfarmers Collection, Perth, 07/00. Art” caption=”Frederick McCubbin’s 1889 painting ‘Down on his Luck’ prior to its defacing.”>

“Twelve times Australia’s current annual emissions, and making international action to limit warming to safe levels impossible,” she said.

Mr Blurton has demanded no more industry on the Peninsula.

“[Murujuga] is barely 100 years old. Woodside is destroying 50,000 years of our culture.”

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