An Indigenous elder has threatened to paint over a new mural in his town, saying it was 'insulting' a local male leader was not featured.
Walbunja elder Bunja Smith said he and other community members in Batemans Bay supported the concept of the mural, but they were angry a local male leader was not considered.
"This mural is supposed to be about intergenerational leadership, but it essentially says the Walbunja people do not have male leaders and that is insulting," he said.
The choice to feature Stan Grant, a Wiradjuri man from Griffith, caused outrage among some who believed it was not appropriate for him to be showcased instead of a male Walbunja leader.
But the Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce, which commissioned the mural, said it was about celebrating local, national and future leadership and featured journalist and author Stan Grant as a "unifying figure".
Mr Smith said he has respect for Stan as an Aboriginal man, but believes it is inappropriate.
"Stan has always identified as a Wiradjuri man, and it is totally disrespectful to the Walbunja people who are the traditional owners here," Smith said.
"We have wonderful leaders on the South Coast. I'm thinking of the ones who many have learned from including Mervyn Penrith, Les Simon, Ron Mason, Keith Smith, plenty of people there to choose from who have been totally ignored."
Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber former president David Maclachlan pitched the mural, which also features portraits of two Walbunja women, Aunty Loretta Parsley and her granddaughter Bimi.
The idea came about when Aunty Loretta expressed a desire for more local public art to tell Indigenous stories.
Mr Maclachlan said the original idea about intergenerational leadership morphed into a focus on local, national and future leaders in the Indigenous community.
"The purpose of featuring Stan Grant is because he's a national unifying figure, with connections down here, and we wanted the mural to have a national identity," he said.
"I'm not going to say what Indigenous people should or shouldn't feel about the mural, I've got to be guided by local elders and I was.
"There was meaningful dialogue around the mural and we all thought we were doing the right thing."
However, Mr Smith said there had not been enough community consultation about the mural before it was painted.
"The bottom line is there was no proper consultation process," he said.
"Dave spoke to one person, Loretta Parsley. One person is not the community and a proper consultation should have occurred.
"Are you saying to the men of the area that we are insignificant? It's insulting and takes me back to invasion and cultural trauma, as though we're being erased."
The mural was painted by internationally renowned artist Matt Andate and expected to officially open mid-June.
Raymond's Malua Bay owns the wall outside the Woolworths at Bridge Plaza where the mural was painted and Mr Maclachlan said they had been highly supportive of the idea.
"We wanted to do something good for the town because there is not a lot of Indigenous art on display," Mr Maclachlan said.
"I think the crunch of it is we've got a national figure who has connections down here, an elder woman and a young girl with an amazing history and that's who we should celebrate."
Mr Smith said he had expressed the community's disappointment with the portrait of Stan Grant and there was more than enough time to fix the issue before the opening.
"I'm hoping they will realise the error of their ways and try and fix it, that's all we're asking," Mr Smith said.
"It would be easy to change that one corner to be a portrait of a local Aboriginal elder.
"If nothing is resolved I will hold a community meeting outside the mural and we will paint over the corner where Stan Grant is.
"It is not acceptable to have a man not from country as the welcome point to Batemans Bay."