Cartoonist Redraws New Zealand’s Silver Fern In Poignant Tribute To Mosque Victims

The artist said he "certainly didn't expect" his tribute to those slain in Christchurch to go viral.

An Australian cartoonist reimagined New Zealand’s national floral emblem in memory of the Muslims slain in Friday’s mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.

Pat Campbell, who works for The Canberra Times, redrew the frond of the country’s Silver Fern to represent each person killed by the alleged white supremacist gunman.

The first version, shared Saturday, featured 49 people in various stages of prayer:

Campbell updated the image on Wednesday after the death toll rose to 50:

Campbell told HuffPost he came up with the idea the morning after the attacks.

“I thought of the fern, which is an important symbol of New Zealand and its form reminded me of people,” he explained on Wednesday. “From there it was a natural step to depicting the victims in various positions of prayer, which is what they were doing when they were gunned down.”

It took “several hours to compose and draw, but the idea came naturally.”

Campbell said he “certainly didn’t expect it to go viral.” The response, he said, was “bittersweet.”

“It’s not something I really wanted to illustrate or provide commentary for,” he said. “But many people have been touched by it and have expressed their thanks, and that obviously means a lot. I hope that warmth carries on to the victims and their families.”

This article has been updated to include Campbell’s comments.