Frederick McCubbin’s painting in the Art Gallery of Western Australia was spray-painted with the Woodside logo in protest of Burrup Hup

Ballardong Noongar man Desmond Blurton called for the project to be halted, insisting the state must protect indigenous artworks and cultural heritage.


The protest marked the start of a new campaign against the controversial hub, which includes the development of the Scarborough and Browse gas fields and the expansion of two existing gas fields in the northwest of the state.

Woodside’s operations off the northwest coast have come under intense scrutiny for their climate impact by environmental groups, with hundreds of appeals and a high-profile lawsuit challenging the government’s decision to extend the life of the North West Shelf project to 2070.

Current projections suggest that the operation would emit more than 4.3 billion tons of carbon over that period.

A source in the gallery told today It recently placed a clear plastic sheet over the artwork in response to other protests in the eastern states and overseas.

A spokesman for the Art Gallery of WA confirmed the artwork was covered in plexiglass and was not damaged, but declined to comment further on the incident.

Woodside has long maintained that the continued operation of the North West Shelf would unlock new gas supplies for Western Australian and global customers and underpin the supply of affordable and reliable energy.

A Woodside spokesman told WAtoday the company respects people’s right to protest peacefully and lawfully, but stressed that its track record speaks for itself.

“Woodside has a proven track record of safe, reliable and sustainable operations at Murujuga, spanning more than 35 years, supplying natural gas to customers in Western Australia and around the world,” the spokesman said.

“Our environmental approach complies with all applicable environmental laws and regulations and is underpinned by sound science-based decisions.

“Peer-reviewed research has found no impact on the Murujuga rock art from industrial emissions associated with LNG production.

“Woodside builds long-term relationships with the communities in which we live and work, and we are proud of these partnerships.

“We work closely with traditional owners and respect the culture and values ​​of the indigenous communities in which we operate.”

WA Liberal leader David Honey condemned the action and warned that a line must be drawn against vandalism to prevent them from being normalized in WA.

The protest comes just months after protesters defaced an Andy Warhol artwork at the National Gallery in protest at subsidies to fossil fuel companies.

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Callan Tansill

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