Artist Who Defaced Painting Says Police Raided Her Home

Artist Who Defaced Painting Says Police Raided Her Home
A supplied image shows artists standing beside Frederick McCubbin’s 'Down On His Luck' after launching a faux attack on the famous paintings to protest Woodside’s alleged destruction of rock art, at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth, Australia on Jan. 19, 2023. (AAP Image/Supplied by Disrupt Burrup Hub)

An artist who admitted to defacing one of Australia’s most famous paintings in a gas company protest says police have raided her home in a “massive over-reach”.

Joana Partyka was convicted in the Perth Magistrates Court earlier this month after pleading guilty to criminal damage after she spray-painted a Woodside Energy logo onto Frederick McCubbin’s work Down On His Luck at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

She was fined $2637 and ordered to pay the art gallery $4821.08 in compensation. The penalties were paid off within 24 hours thanks to crowdfunding, Partyka said.

McCubbin’s work was protected by a clear plastic sheet and not damaged by the spray paint.

The ceramic artist and illustrator said her Perth home was raided by counter-terrorism police on Friday morning.

She says officers seized her mobile phone, laptop and notebook and took photos of other belongings.

Partyka suggested the raid was designed to intimidate the activist group she belonged to, Disrupt Burrup Hub.

It further illustrated “the complete control that Woodside and big fossil fuel polluters have over our government and police force”, she said.

“I have already pleaded guilty and been convicted for the action I took last month at the Art Gallery of WA and have already paid in full the fine and excessive costs I was charged for that action,” Partyka said.

“This subsequent raid by state security counter-terror cops is baffling and unjustified and just demonstrates how desperate the government is to cover up their dependence on Woodside.”

The Western Australia Police Force has been contacted for comment.

Partyka reiterated her group’s intention to disrupt industrial development on the rock art-rich Burrup Peninsula.

She would not be deterred by a “scare tactic”, she told AAP.

“This issue is obviously one that’s very important to me, to go to the lengths that I did in regards to the art gallery action,” she said.

“I’m not going to allow essentially what is the protection racket on behalf of the government to scare me into submission.”

Disrupt Burrup Hub has called for industrial development on the Burrup Peninsula, about 30km west of Karratha in the Pilbara region, to be stopped, including Woodside Energy’s expansion of the Pluto gas plant.

The Burrup Peninsula, known as Murujuga to traditional owners, contains the largest and oldest collection of petroglyphs in the world.

Graphic designer Tahlia Stolarski also painted the Woodside logo on the front doors of the West Australian parliament on Tuesday.