A mural seeming to make light of Kanye West during his recent hospitalization has appeared on a wall in Melbourne, Australia. The painting, which uses such stereotypes as a straightjacket and a drooping tongue to depict West as “crazy,” has incited a massive reaction from local residents and many fans around the world.
Credit for the piece has been claimed by mysterious Melbourne street artist Lushsux. The artist, who maintains his anonymity in the face of growing worldwide interest in his work, was last year included in Banksy’s “Dismaland, Bemusement Park” exhibition.
The Kanye West mural isn’t the first controversial work for the artist, who has in the past used his artistic hand to paint public figures such as Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Amber Rose, as well as a particularly graphic take on the Kanye West music video for recent single “Famous.”
The recent work has drawn wide criticism from media and the community, particularly for its apparent intent to make light of West’s current mental health situation. Australian online media outlet Pedestrian weighed in on the issue.
“Attacking the issue of an individual’s suffering always and immediately elevates the person making the joke to a higher platform and reduces the subject (or frankly in this case, victim) to a punching bag for issues beyond their control; it becomes, from the instant the mocking begins, a position with little or no recourse or opportunity to respond.”
Speaking to Lushsux regarding one of his earlier controversial works showing Hillary Clinton, Hypebeast described his work as “provocative, confrontational and comical”.
It was his piece in the Melbourne neighborhood of Footscray showing a busty Clinton wearing only a stars-and-stripes bathing suit with a $100 bill tucked into it that caused enough of a reaction for Instagram to delete the artist’s account. Despite his anonymity, the artist was threatened with fines from the local council after the piece resulted in a flood of complaints from the local community.
When asked what reaction he is looking to generate with his work, Lushsux replied, “Stuff that will make you stop in your tracks and take a Snapchat with.”
Many have taken to Lushsux’s Instagram account to voice their concern with the Kanye West mural. While the majority of comments are condemnation of the artist for what they feel is a blatant attack on West, some have praised Lushsux for calling out the media for relentless coverage during what should be a time of personal recovery and healing for the musician.
After being hospitalized last week with what was initially reported as exhaustion and dehydration, it has since been reported that West is suffering from more serious issues of a mental nature.
TMZ has alleged that the hospital stay and subsequent cancellation of the remainder of his “Saint Pablo Tour” are the result of paranoia and prolonged depression.
“We’re told after Kanye was taken to the hospital Monday he was convinced people were out to get him, including the doctors who were caring for him. Our sources say for a time he wouldn’t even let the doctors touch him.”
Reports that West would be ready for release following the Thanksgiving holiday have been disproved, as TMZ alleges the singer is not ready to be discharged.
“We’re now told Kanye is still not stable and will not be released today. In fact, there is now no release date set, because he has not recovered from his breakdown a week ago.”
Following the barrage of criticism, Lushsux has updated the Kanye West mural, altering the piece to be a statement referencing West’s comments seemingly throwing his support behind President-elect Trump. Many of the elements thought to depict West as “crazy,” such as the drooping tongue and ring of stars around his head, have been replaced to be in line with the new message. The new post is accompanied by a brief statement claiming that the artist was “not himself” when he painted the original.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/ Getty Images]