PART of a billboard-style artwork produced by Castlemaine Secondary College students for the Castlemaine State Festival was removed on Wednesday night after community complaints.
The street art exhibition Text Alley in Frederick Street included paste-ups stating “Christmas is a lie” and “Let bogans be bogans”.
Festival organisers and Castlemaine Secondary College staff removed the word “lie” from the Christmas paste-up on Wednesday night after residents complained.
One Castlemaine resident said he had seen an elderly gentleman shaking with anger while looking at the artwork on Wednesday.
“I was just walking by and he was asking me who was behind it. He said he was religious and he was really upset by it,” the resident said.
Castlemaine resident Brian Smith said some residents found the use of the word “bogan” derogatory.
“There’s been a few slurs thrown around here lately and then that’s put up. It’s not the best,’’ he said.
“No one’s against the state festival, it’s just that sort of message is not needed.”
Castlemaine Secondary College acting principal Paul Frye apologised for any offence caused by the artwork.
“The project brief was to get students to think about billboards and the kinds of commercial messages found in them,’’ he said.
“The students were encouraged to offer alternative views. I believe the boy who produced the art’s intention was to make a point about the commercialisation of Christmas.
“It certainly wasn’t meant as an attack on the religious importance of Christmas.”
Mr Frye said he could understand why the paste-ups caused offense and apologised for any upset caused. “We certainly understand that it caused offence. We are sorry about it and removed it at once,” he said.
“The project was designed to give young people a voice. It’s a delicate balance at times to provide someone with freedom of expression while respecting the rights and beliefs of members of the community.”