Australian Climate Protester Fights Counter-Terrorism Charge

Australian Climate Protester is Fighting Counter-Terrorism Charge She Received for Spray-Painting Artwork in Perth.

Apr 25, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Australian Climate Protester
Protesters sprayed an iconic Australian painting. Credit: Supplied/Disrupt Burrup Hub


Australian climate protester spray-painted an artwork at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth. She did that last year, in January. With the help of another activist, Joana Veronika Partika applied spray paint to the painting of Frederic McCubbin. She sprayed Woodside Energy company logo. Overall, this firm has a connection to the controversial gas project in Western Australia.


Australian Climate Protester Pleaded Guilty

Australian Climate Protester
A protest held by the Disrupt Burrup Hub at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. COURTESY DISRUPT BURRUP HUB


Joana Veronika Partika is part of the Disrupt Burrup Hub. She sprayed a yellow paint to raise awareness about environmental pollution that this company’s project can create. She pleaded guilty to destroying a Frederick McCubbin painting. Since then, she has been heavily accused. But, she is not the only one who thinks this project can be deadly to the environment.

Many other ecologists and climate activists tried to raise awareness about the dangerous implications that Scarborough project can bring. They also said It might have an effect on the centuries-old rock art at Murujuga. The museum possesses the painting since 1896. Two other activists were with her.


Australian Climate Protester
Targets by Christopher Pease, a 34 metre art work which wraps around the roof of the Art Gallery. Source; Wikipedia


One of them glued himself to the wall, while another unfurled an Aboriginal flag. They were also there to protest on the behalf of the Disrupt Burrup Hub organization. Critics of this type of environmental protest claim that this activism jeopardized the $3 million painting. But, because Perspex protects it the work does not come with any damages.


Artist’s Granddaughter Defended Protesters

the Art Gallery of Western Australia
A view of the Art Gallery of Western Australia with its new external lift and rooftop venue. Wikipedia

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What is fascinating is that the deceased artist’s granddaughter defended the protestors. “He would have laughed out loud and supported this very clever protest, which has not harmed his painting in any way and has opened an important conversation”, she said. Western Australian authorities perceived the incident differently. Partyka received a fee of $2,637 and ordered to pay the museum $4,821.08 in fines.


Partyka said the authorities confiscated her private property after she refused to hand over her electronic devices. She entered a not guilty plea to violating a court order to grant access to her data. Also, she called the raid an example of “state-sanctioned overreach”. On September 11, there will be a single-day trial.


Vancouver climate protesters
Photo courtesy of Stop Fracking Around.


Her case comes as climate protestors across the globe face legal consequences for their actions in art spaces. German authorities have promised a “significant” fine on the activists who glued themselves to a Rubens painting in Munich, and two Belgian activists were given prison time for a similar action involving Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring in The Hague..

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.