Part of Cam Scale's artwork,
Part of Cam Scale's artwork, "Don't Shoot the Messenger", in Proudfoots Lane at the M|Arts precinct in Murwillumbah, has been painted over.

Why artwork about whistleblowers has been redacted

AN ARTWORK inspired by many countries’ poor treatment of whistle blowers has been partly “redacted”.

A new installation had recently been painted on a large brick wall at the M|Arts Precinct in Proudfoots Lane, Murwillumbah.

Artist Cam Scale said the work, titled Don’t Shoot the Messenger, was a reflection of the way our society treats those who speak out.

Within days, the work, which featured a whistle attached to a noose, had attracted praise for its social statement but also outrage.

The upset sparked by the work has mostly related to connections between the noose and suicide.

Artist Cam Scale working on
Artist Cam Scale working on "Don't Shoot the Messenger", in Proudfoots Lane at the M|Arts precinct in Murwillumbah.

“The inspiration for this work stems from a deep despair and concern about the

continuing treatment of whistleblowers and the effect this has across almost all aspects of

our society,” Mr Scale said in a statement.

“The idea that an individual speaking out about uncovered corruption or criminal behaviour,

first has to consider their own destruction or incarceration, sends a very clear message to

stay silent. 

Don’t Shoot the Messenger highlights the way that whistleblowers are treated across the world, including in Australia.

“It is an ode to those who have been brave enough to speak out against violations of the law and how they are currently being treated.”

Mr Scale had been working in Melbourne for a decade and is now based in the Tweed Shire.

A spokesperson for M|Arts said while street art is often controversial, the concerns raised were too important to be ignored.

“While we believe firmly in freedom of expression through art, some things must always be

more important,” they said in a statement.

“The possible interpretation wasn’t something that had occurred to us or the artist, but once we were made aware of it, we all agreed that a change should be made immediately.

“While these changes to Don’t Shoot the Messenger are happening sooner than any of us anticipated, we’re excited to see how the painting now evolves with Cam’s fresh inspiration.”

Mr Scale has painted over the noose portion of the work and said the future of the space was a “work in progress”.