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These Posters Are Everywhere, And They Have A Message For Peter Dutton

They're a powerful message for our political leaders, especially Peter Dutton.

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Chances are, you've seen them somewhere on a street near you. These ubiquitous posters have been spotted on streets from Perth ...

Instagram: @peterdrewarts

The posters are the creation of South Australian artist Peter Drew, who, with the help of a crowdfunding campaign, has plastered 920 of the posters around Australia. He wants to create new Australian folk heroes out of the people featured in the images.

Instagram: @peterdrewarts

One of the people featured in the posters is Monga Khan, an Afghan hawker who applied to be given an exemption from the dictation test made mandatory by the White Australia policy in 1916.

Drew told BuzzFeed News that Khan's image, taken from his application, can be used to create a hero that defies traditional expectations of what it means to be Australian.

"We have Ned Kelly and Waltzing Matilda, why not a new folk hero that shows the history of diversity in Australia?" he asked. "The great thing about Aussie folk heroes is that they are defiant against oppressive authority. So why couldn't we have a folk hero that's defiant towards the White Australia policy?"

The artist says the reaction to the posters has been mostly positive, although some have found them confronting.

"A lot of people will look at it and think, 'that guy doesn't look Aussie', and that's obviously the intention, to pick someone who doesn't look typically Aussie and who confronts our assumptions," Drew said.

After putting up posters in Sydney, Melbourne, the Northern Territory and Perth, Drew's fundraising has now far exceeded his expectations.

He plans to give the extra money to other artists who want to tell Australia's immigration story.

Meanwhile, Drew is hitting the road again to put up posters in Brisbane, Hobart, Launceston and Canberra, where he's hoping to get his message across to our political leaders.

"We should be thinking long and hard about how we perceive ourselves," he said. "Thats a much more powerful impulse, our self-perception of whether we're really proud of who we are and whether we stand up to the values we claim to."

Drew, who was also behind the "Real Australians Say Welcome" campaign in 2015, says he was inspired to start a campaign after living in Glasgow and realising what it's like to live life as an outsider.

"I was living in Glasgow during the 2013 federal election and both major parties were racing to 'stop the boats'. I thought that phrase was pretty absurd coming from a nation of immigrants," Drew said.

He's disappointed that another election is being fought on anti-immigration issues, and wants Australia's politicians to see the humanity in people who seek asylum here.

"If [immigration minister] Peter Dutton actually got to know some asylum-seekers, he'd be both inspired and humbled at their determination," he said. "These are some of the most vulnerable people on the planet, who have risked everything to be here, and every time I meet an asylum-seeker I'm reminded of how lucky we are."